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Revitalizing Detroit Through Literature: The Detroit Bookfest

Victoria Pettey, Editor in Chief

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Detroit is arguably one of the most culturally diverse cities in the United States, but one thing is for certain—literature has the power to unite us all.

Ryan Place, is the event chairman of the Detroit Festival of Books and the CEO of Margrave Pictures. “In my travels, I’ve found that Detroit is often perceived as an ignorant wasteland of non-readers, which just isn’t true. So, the Detroit Bookfest is an effort to help counteract that enormous misconception and encourage a greater love of books in the community. I was standing inside the bountiful glory that is John K. King Books downtown and thought: Detroit is a dynamic city, we need a major book festival!

John K. King Books is a magnificent, four story utopia of books in Detroit, Michigan. The store is home to over an estimated one million books, new, used, traded, and out-of-print. Some of the items housed within are so rare that they are for view by appointment only. It is said to be the nation’s largest and most unusual collection of paperback and hardcover novels.

Place is also the Vice President of the Book Club of Detroit, which is a group of people who bond over their love of collecting rare books. The idea struck him like a “modern wood pulp case-bound book in the face.” So at the next book club meeting, Place relayed his idea to the group—and the vote was unanimous! There had to be a festival of books! They decided to set up a Facebook page to alert the public. On January 11th, 2107, the page went live, and over 10,000 people gave a resounding “YES,” as their response.

On Sunday, July 16th, Sheds 5 and 6 in Eastern Market, Detroit will become the epicenter of book lovers from all over the country. There, the literature enthusiasts will be able to meet beloved local and national authors, enjoy Detroit-inspired funk music (spun by DJ Zig-Zag), eat and drink from a variety of vendors, and buy and sell books of all sorts. According to place, this event will be a “grand meeting of the tribes, something needed now more than ever in these ephemeral days of fragmentation.”

 

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Revitalizing Detroit Through Literature: The Detroit Bookfest