Love books? How would you like to mix and mingle with some of the best authors of our time? The Metro Detroit Book & Author Society has been putting on events, open to the public, since 1972 that feature major national authors. These bi-annual luncheons are considered one of the largest and best one-day author events in the country. The 2019 luncheon happens on May 20th at Burton Manor in Livonia.
Michael Cummings, the Book & Author Society President, and Alan Fisk, Book Consultant, gave us the scoop ….
1. Tell us what the Metro Detroit Book & Author Society is all about.
The Book and Author Society is a nonprofit dedicated to bringing America's top writers to Detroit to share their stories about writing and the books they’ve written. Our bi-annual luncheons (May/October) help us raise money for libraries and literacy programs. Through the many groups we represent, we strive to promote literacy, grants, library collections and activities and of course the love of books. This is reflected through the four grants we offer each year: Ritter/literacy, Dance/arts, Johnston/library collection, and Irwin/friends (sort of a catchall grant for all things library related).
2. The 94th luncheon is coming up on May 20th. What is the history of this event?
We offer a great variety of speakers. The Book & Author Society has hosted hundreds of memorable best-selling fiction authors over the years: from Tennessee Williams to James Patterson to Mary Higgins Clark to Joyce Carol Oates … as well as Stephen King, Ann Patchett, Toni Morrison and Harlan Coben. We have also featured many top nonfiction authors, including Dan Rather, Lesley Stahl, Deepak Chopra, Gladys Knight and Jane Seymour.
3.What can attendees at this May's luncheon expect?
Our audiences at each luncheon can expect to hear from four to five top authors who talk candidly about the writing life and its ups and downs. The audience members can also buy the authors' books and get them personally autographed. This luncheon, apart from seeing a few big name authors, the big fun looks to be provided by the folks at Faygo!
Many members of our audience come back again and again for the luncheons each May and October.
3. Can you tell us about this year's keynote speakers?
Our main speaker for the May 20 luncheon is Cecile Richards, who learned politics at the knee of her famed mother, Texas Gov. Ann Richards, then achieved national fame — her critics might say infamy –herself running Planned Parenthood.
Elaine Weiss, author of The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote, is a timely book focused on the female leaders who won American women the right to vote. Steven Speilberg’s Amblin TV plans to adapt it as either a TV movie or a limited series with former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton set to be its Executive Producer.
4. Who are some of recipients of the funds raised from the luncheons over the years, and what type of projects have they funded?
The Book and Author Society has awarded tens of thousands of dollars to libraries and literacy programs across Metro Detroit for reading programs, book purchases, children’s book outreach and modernizing facilities, among many other projects over the years. If you check out our web page you can see the list of them with each grant. We have helped to fund STEAM/STEM kits, Alzheimer materials, Game of Thrones events, literacy collections and so much more.
Extra Credit: What dream author would the Metro Detroit Book & Author Society love to recruit as a keynote speaker in the future and why?
I don't know that there is one big name for which we hope. I think if you asked each of the board members who they would like to see…you would have 25 different names. Our all-time audience favorite is Mary Higgins Clark. She spoke six times over the years and each time hundreds of people lined up to talk to her and get an autograph. Once she even flew in by private jet when she had an eye injury and was advised against flying by commercial plane. Mary doesn't travel much for her books anymore, but we are always ready to welcome her back for visit number seven.
The Metro Detroit Book & Author Society's 94 Luncheon is on May 20th, 2019 at Burton Manor in Livonia: