Metro Detroit has long offered strong voices to the literary world through well-known authors like Jeffrey Eugenides (The Virgin Suicides) and the prolific poet Dudley Randall. But the city’s contribution to innovative writing extends to women whose works span several topics from environmental issues to sexuality. Celebrate National Read Across America Day on March 2 and Women’s History Month throughout March with notable local voices.
Jessica Care Moore
Jessica Care Moore came to national recognition after winning the It’s Showtime at the Apollo live competition a record-breaking five years in a row. The poet, playwright, performance artist, and producer won the 2013 Alain Locke Award from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Her passionate works include poetry collections such as The Words Don’t Fit in My Mouth and her memoir Love is Not The Enemy. As an activist, Moore has used her position to raise awareness for the fight against AIDS.
Wayne State graduate Sarah Kayed’s recently published debut poetry collection, “The Way the Sun Sets,” has been met with overwhelmingly positive feedback. Kayed’s work explores themes like love and loss, following the journey of the sun through three chapters: Dawn, Sunrise, and Sunset.
Detroit-born author Marge Piercy has been an active writer for almost all of her life. With her mother as her inspiration for becoming a poet, Piercy has written 17 novels, including bestsellers Gone to Soldiers and Braided Lives. Her passionate poetry highlights themes like lost friends and relationships, compassion, social activism, and personal struggle.
Desiree Cooper’s recent work Know the Mother has been praised by prestigious authors such as Angela Flournoy. The 2015 Kresge Artist Fellow and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist has been active in exposing her readers to the intersections of racism and sexism. Cooper is also the founder of Cave Canem, a rising residency that has helped new, young black poets with their craft.
Adrienne Maree Brown
Adrienne Maree Brown has an expansive list of roles including doula, Octavia Butler scholar, social justice facilitator, and writer. The author of self-help and planet-help book, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds, also writes Detroit-based science fiction grounded in a belief that we must, ‘imagine a new possible’ into being.”
Anna Clark is a journalist living in Detroit. Her writing has appeared in various publications including The New York Times, POLITICO, Next City, and more. Clark’s forthcoming book, The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy, is lauded as the first full account of the water crisis. Clark is also the founder of Literary Detroit, a reader centric community dedicated to cultivating Detroit as a literary city, amd works as the director of applications for Write A House, an initiative which renovates vacant homes in Detroit and fills them with emerging writers.
Detroit Native Shawntai Brown is known for her comedic plays and narrative works focusing on faith, gender, race, sexuality, and community. The poet, freelance blogger, and playwright wrote and produced the eLLe Kalamazoo series, a play project series which centers on lesbian, bisexual, and transgender characters. Brown has worked as a theater coach and consultant, helping middle and high school students create performance pieces about social justice.