By Liz Parker
It’s summertime and the living is easy … which means that there’s hopefully more time for reading! Detroit has a very varied literary scene and has a lot of authors both who are from here and also who still live and write here. Read this list of the best Detroit-area authors to check out.
Laura Kasischke is a professor at the Residential College at the University of Michigan, as well as in their MFA program, and she writes both novels and poetry. Her novel “The Life Before Your Eyes“ was made into a movie with Uma Thurman, and released in 2007; another of her novels, “White Bird in a Blizzard,” was made into a movie starring Shailene Woodley, and was released in 2014. Her most recent work is “Where Now: New and Selected Poems,” which was released in 2017.
Drew Philp is the author of A “$500 House in Detroit: Rebuilding an Abandoned Home an American City,” which was released in April 2017. His writing has appeared in BuzzFeed, The Detroit Free Press, Metro Times, and other publications, and he won the 2017 Stuard D. and Vernice M. Gross Award for Literature for his novel. He’s a graduate of the University of Michigan and currently lives in Detroit. A “$500 House in Detroit” details Philp’s experience buying a house for $500, in the Detroit neighborhood of Poletown, and attempting to restore it.
Aaron Foley is the “chief storyteller” of Detroit (an actual job created by Mayor Mike Duggan) and the author of “How to Live in Detroit Without Being a Jackass,” which was released in 2015. His past jobs have included being editor of BLAC Detroit magazine, and the editor of “The Detroit Neighborhood Guidebook,” which was released in August 2017. Foley also sits on the boards of Signal-Return, a letterpress in Detroit’s Eastern Market and the United Negro College Fund’s Detroit Inter-Alumni Council. He has been recognized by the Michigan Chronicle as a 40 Under 40 honoree, as well as by the Wayne State University Journalism Institute for Media Diversity.
Related: Best Local Authors in Detroit
Although Jon Harrison moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 1994, he was born in Michigan, and his novel “The Banks of Certain Rivers“ takes place in Michigan, as well. Harrison attended Ohio University, where he studied English literature and geological sciences. “The Banks of Certain Rivers” was released around 2013 (click here for a review) and focuses on a father who lives in Port Manitou, Michigan, and who suffers unintended consequences from his actions.
It would be remiss to not include Mitch Albom on this list, as he has written many books and short stories and is a Detroit native. His books have sold more than 35 million copies worldwide and have been made into television movies, including “Tuesdays with Morrie” and “Have a Little Faith,” which had a Royal Oak premiere a few years ago. His novel “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” is a bestseller, and its sequel, “The Next Person You Meet in Heaven,” will be released on October 16, 2018.
Related: 5 Must-Read Books By Detroit Authors