Voices Lit Fest

Created by Midwestern Gothic in partnership with the the University of Michigan’s Residential College, Voices of the Middle West is a festival celebrating writers from all walks of life as well as independent presses and journals that consider the Midwestern United States their home.

The goal of the festival is to bring together students and faculty of the university, as well as writers and presses from all over the Midwest, in order to provide a perspective of this region and to showcase the magnificent work being produced here, the stories that need to be told…the voices that need to be heard. Truly, this is a celebration of the Midwest voice, and it is our aim to create an ideal environment for any and all to come and take an active part, to discover and discuss how rich our literary tradition is.

The festival will be headlined by a special keynote speaker, Stuart Dybek, author of two new collections Ecstatic Cahoots and Paper Lantern, were published simultaneously by FSG in 2014. His previous books of fiction are Childhood and Other Neighborhoods, The Coast of Chicago, and I Sailed with Magellan. He has also published two volumes of poetry, Brass Knuckles and Streets In Their Own Ink. His work is widely anthologized and appears in publications such as The New Yorker, Harpers, The Atlantic, Tin House, Granta, Zoetrope, Ploughshares, and Poetry. Dybek is the recipient of many literary awards including the PEN/Bernard Malamud Prize for “distinguished achievement in the short story”, a Lannan Award, the Academy Institute Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writer’s Award, the Harold Washington Literary Award, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and four O’Henry Prizes. His work has appeared in Best American Poetry and in Best American Fiction. In 2007, he was awarded both a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and the Rea Award for the Short Story. He is the Distinguished Writer in Residence at Northwestern University.  There will be a reception open to the public after the keynote, where Mr. Dybek will be available to sign copies of his books, available to purchase by Literati Bookstore.

Held on the campus of the University of Michigan, Voices of the Middle West will take place on Saturday, March 21, 2015, starting at 10 AM with a panel lead by faculty and students of the University of Michigan. Following is a panel featuring authors discussing the elements of the Midwestern landscape in literature. After lunch there will be a publishing panel consisting of experts in the field discussing the role of gender in publishing, an author panel whose topic is fables and myth in Midwestern storytelling, and an Open Mic event where students and community writers are invited to share their work with an audience.

Throughout the day there will be a bookfair held in the atrium (main level) of East Quad with nearby access to all of the day’s events. The bookfair will showcase literary journals and independent presses from all over the Midwest selling their latest issues and books—panelists’ and featured writers’ books will be available as well.

Food is available in East Quad for purchase (for non-students as well), and light refreshments will be served in the afternoon.

There is no cost to attend the festival, and we invite you to stop by and see what we’re all about.

Event Schedule / Directions and Parking


Bookfair Information / Exhibitor List


Voices of the Middle West is proud to be sponsored by the generous support of UM Residential College alum and the following generous institutions:


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