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, Ross Gay, the author of three books: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry. He is also the co-author, with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, of the chapbook “Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens,” in addition to being co-author, with Richard Wehrenberg, Jr., of the chapbook, “River.” He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin’, in addition to being an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press. Ross is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Ross teaches at Indiana University. There will be a reception open to the public after the keynote, where Mr. Gay 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 12, 2016, starting at 10 AM with a panel lead by faculty of the University of Michigan. Following is a panel featuring authors discussing where fiction and memoir meet. After lunch there will be a publishing panel consisting of experts in the field discussing unheard voices in publishing and their influence on the industry, an author panel whose topic is the Midwestern character, 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:

Michigan Humanities CouncilZVWS-web-transparentbackgroundfwr


Voices of the Middle West is made possible in part by a grant from Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or Michigan Humanities Council.