at Magers & Quinn Booksellers, 3038 Hennepin Ave. S, Minneapolis, 612.822.4611, www.magersandquinn.com
Thursday, June 2, 7:30 p.m. — John Jodzio, Dessa, and David Philip Mullins read from their short stories — Yoga stalkers, guns and gold, babies with iron stomachs, drunkards with t-shirt cannons, and warlocks — lots of warlocks — populate John Jodzio’s latest short story, “Do Not Touch Me Not Now Not Ever.” It’s one of five pieces of flash fiction in They Could No Longer Contain Themselves from Rose Metal Press. Jodzio is the author of If You Lived Here, You’d Already Be Home and a winner of the Loft-McKnight Fellowship. His stories have appeared in McSweeneys, One Story, Opium, The Florida Review, and Rake. He’s won a Minnesota Magazine fiction. More information is available at www.johnjodzio.net.
Dessa is a Minneapolis musician and writer. Spiral Bound, her collection of essays and poetry, was dubbed a “dazzling literary debut” by the City Pages and “witty and desperately honest” by Alive Magazine.
What would have become of Nick Adams if he’d been born along the ragged edges of a new American city, one with more churches per capita than any other, and twice the suicide rate? Â Meet Nick Danze, the main character of David Philip Mullins’s vital debut collection, Greetings from Below. In these stories, Danze prowls Vegas, with its gilded casinos, neon-tinted suburbs, and dingy, outer-ring strip clubs. He visits a swingers’ club on Christmas Eve, obsesses over obese middle-aged women, and meets the love of his life, Annie, only he’s not sure he loves her and he’s compulsively unfaithful. David Philip Mullins is the author of Greetings from Below (Sarabande Books), a collection of linked short stories, which won the 2009 Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His work has appeared in The Yale Review, The Massachusetts Review, New England Review, Cimarron Review, Fiction, Ecotone, Folio, and Gulf Coast. He lives in Omaha, NE, with his wife and two children, where he teaches writing at Creighton University. Visit www.davidphilipmullins.com for more information.
Monday, June 6, 7:30 p.m. — Gail Rosenblum reads from A Hundred Lives Since Then: Essays on Motherhood, Marriage, Mortality and More — Gail Rosenblum has gathered a collection of her wry observations on a host of experiences ranging from home remodeling and a parent’s late-life romance to a child’s show-and-tell and the neighborhood book club. With self-deprecating humor, she reminds us of how difficult it can be to hire a babysitter, how frightful to take a young child on an amusement park ride. She describes her daughter’s first crush, analyzes the stages of an exasperating family holiday, and explores the complicated process of choosing the right dog. She evokes the sense of vanishing time as a parent watches her children grow up and the craziness and sense of loss that accompany even the most well-mannered divorce. Her irrepressible humor is never far from the surface, but readers will also be moved by her ability to expose the enduring significance of the most quotidian observations and events. Rosenblum is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, writing two to three columns a week on current issues, trends and the complexities of human relationships.
Tuesday, June 7, 7:30 p.m. — Robin Black reads from If I Loved You I Would Tell You This — Robin Black’s short stories are populated with men and women who face losses both real and unexpected. A philandering father learns the limits of his ability to fool his blind daughter about who he is. An artist paints the portrait of a man suffering from dementia while she mourns the end of a long love affair. A fifth grade show-and-tell session reveals the world to be stranger and more dangerous than one girl ever imagined. A father commits suicide on the same day his daughter’s bath water is charged with electricity, leaving her struggling to find meaning in the coincidence. A young widow finds herself envious of an acquaintance who has a prosthetic leg, and a living spouse. A dying woman fantasizes about persuading her selfish, bullying neighbor to see the value of her ebbing life. A mother gains sympathy for her adult daughter’s infidelity even as her own world begins to expand in surprising ways. A man whose life is newly filled with love tries to reconnect with the daughter who staged her own disappearance years before. An accident on an Italian holiday and an unexpected connection with a stranger cause a woman to question her lifelong assumptions about herself. Robin Black’s stories and essays have appeared One Story, Colorado Review, The Georgia Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Bellevue Literary Review, The Southern Review, and the anthology The Best Creative Nonfiction. She lives in Philadelphia.
Wednesday, June 8, 7:30 p.m. — Dean Bakopoulos reads from his novel My American Unhappiness — “Why are you so unhappy?” That’s the question that Zeke Pappas, a 33-year-old scholar, asks almost everybody he meets as part of an obsessive project, “The Inventory of American Unhappiness.” The answers he receives — a mix of true sadness and absurd complaint — create a collage of woe. Zeke, meanwhile, remains delightfully oblivious to the increasingly harsh realities that threaten his daily routine, opting instead to focus his energy on finding the perfect mate so that he can gain custody of his orphaned nieces. Following steps outlined in a women’s magazine, the ever-optimistic Zeke identifies some “prospects”: a newly divorced neighbor, a coffeehouse barista, his administrative assistant, and Sofia Coppola (“Why not aim high?”). A clairvoyant when it comes to the Starbucks orders of strangers, a quixotic renegade when it comes to the federal bureaucracy, and a devoted believer in the afternoon cocktail and the evening binge, Zeke has an irreverent voice that is a marvel of lacerating wit and heart-on-sleeve emotion, underscored by a creeping paranoia and made more urgent by the hope that if he can only find a wife, he might have a second chance at life. Author of the award-winning debut novel Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon, Bakopoulos is the founding director of the Wisconsin Book Festival and a creative writing professor at Iowa State University. He’s online at www.deanbakopoulos.com.
Sunday, June 12, 4 p.m. — Dr. Kate Levinson discusses Emotional Currency: A Woman’s Guide to Building a Healthy Relationship With Money — Every day, women face new challenges that come with having control over and responsibility for their financial lives, and these issues always have an emotional side. Psychotherapist Dr. Kate Levinson offers fresh approaches to navigating the astonishing range of beliefs about the role of money in our lives, coming to terms with our feelings about being “rich” or “poor,” and exploring our inner money life so that we can put our feelings to work for us in a positive way. By understanding our intimate history and relationship with money we are better able to handle our money anxieties, solve our money problems, enjoy the money we have, and make room for other, more meaningful values. A psychotherapist for more than 25 years, Dr. Kate Levinson currently works with individuals and couples in her private practice in Oakland and is on the supervising and teaching faculty at the Psychotherapy Institute. Dr. Levinson and her husband own Point Reyes Books in Pt. Reyes Station, CA.
Thursday, June 16, 5:30-8:30 p.m. — An African American Author Fair — Magers & Quinn Booksellers and the Black Parent Group present an African American Author Fair. Eighteen African American authors from around the Twin Cities will celebrate the strength and diversity of writing in Minnesota. Browse books from a range of local authors — ranging from children’s books and poetry to business and self-help books. Authors appearing are Candy Pettiford, Charles E. Cox, Jr., Coach Nakumbe, Deniesha Johnson, Derrick L. Williams, Dr. Verna Price, Jacinta Calhoun, Jeff and Shatona Groves, Joseph L. Mbele, Joyce Marrie, Lehman Riley, M. Ann Pritchard, Mahmoud El-Kati, Ms. Nique, Tommy Watson, Venita Johnson, and Zenobia L Silas-Carson. The author fair is a unique opportunity to meet multiple authors, learn about their work, and purchase their books. The Black Parent Group is a non-profit organization that works to connect families to local resources, provide opportunities for children to participate in artistic expression, and create events that celebrate the Black Family. Visit www.theblackparentgroup.com for more information or contact Shatona Groves: [email protected].
Wednesday, June 22, 7:30 p.m. — Darin Strauss reads from Half a Life — “Half my life ago, I killed a girl.” Half a Life begins as a personal tale of a tragic event and ends up opening into the story of how our lives are about defining moments, how we are affected by them, how they shape us. It is the true story of how one outing in his father’s Oldsmobile resulted in the death of a classmate and the beginning of a different, darker life for the author. We follow Strauss as he explores his startling past–the collision, the funeral, the queasy drama of a high-stakes court case–and what starts as a personal tale of a tragic event opens into the story of how to live with a very hard fact: we can try our human best in the crucial moment, and it might not be good enough. Strauss is the author of the books Chang and Eng and The Real McCoy, and the bestseller More Than It Hurts You. Â He won the 2010 NBCC Award for Autobiography for his memoir Half a Life. Strauss currently teaches at New York University.
Wednesday, June 29, 7:30 p.m. — Cindy Gregg and Margaret Hasse read from their poetry — Cindy Gregg is the author of Suddenly Autumn, a book of easy-to-understand poems covering topics as diverse as language, a love of globes and garlic. Gregg has been writing poetry for over twenty years. Her work has appeared in numerous small press literary magazines as well as in Minnesota Monthly. Two of her poems have been read by Garrison Keillor on his daily NPR program, Writer’s Almanac. Cindy has also written a book of short, whimsical essays called The Learning Curve: Lessons on Life, Love and Laundry.
Margaret Hasse’s three books of poems–Stars Above, Stars Below; In a Sheep’s Eye, Darling; and Milk and Tides–have been prizewinners and bestsellers. She is recipient of grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, McKnight Foundation, Loft Literary Center’s Career Initiative Program, Minnesota State Arts Board, and Jerome Foundation. More information is available at www.margarethasse.com.