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Originally from Saline, Michael MacBride now calls Minnesota home but continues to write books set in and around Ann Arbor. Michael received his PhD in 19th century American and 18th century British Literature, and taught for a while, but has also held a number of odd jobs. He has delivered newspapers, worked for UPS, delivered pizzas, done collections at a bank, was a roadie for a country band, was a grant-writer and founder-researcher for non-profits, taught English, Literature, and Humanities courses at universities and colleges in Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Illinois, and held a few other jobs in between. Regardless of what he was doing and when, the two consistent things in his life have been: writing and his intense curiosity. Michael has written academic books about pedagogy and cultural studies, non-fiction about LGBTIA+ history, contemporary "book club" fiction, speculative/science fiction, and a series of mid-grade interactive detective books.
When I was a kid, I wanted more than anything to be an actor. To tread the boards onstage, wowing audience members with my ability to slip seamlessly into a character. For a while, I realized that dream. I even had an agent, in St. Louis, Missouri, who got me some TV gigs, including an appearance on the Discovery Channel.
All that time, though, I was also writing stuff. And, it crawled further toward the front of my brain. I wrote and performed sketch comedy for about five years, in St. Louis, and when I moved back to Michigan. I wrote a zombie movie (which we made. It’s called “The Quirk and the Dead” and it’s on YouTube. Go watch it. It’s only 16 minutes. I can wait…Pretty good, huh? Thanks. So, eventually, the guy I was making movies with (Hi, Brian!) told me to stop sending him script after script after script and to turn them into short stories. Thank goodness he did, because it turns out I love doing this!
Kenneth J. MacLean is a freelance editor and writer who is interested in spirituality, politics, and geometry. He is the author of 11 books, including a math/geometry textbook on 3-dimensional geometric figures called polyhedra.
Ken has learned that the common denominator of all human beings is a divine presence that transcends cultural and religious backgrounds. This understanding is reflected in all of his work.
Sarah Magee is an inveterate traveler, unabashed globalist, and firm believer in always eating dessert first. It is never too early for ice cream. She is a master packer of suitcases and lifelong Michigander. I Never Said I Love You is her literary debut.
Patricia Majher is a museum professional and an author of three books on Michigan history as well as a tour guide focused on her adopted hometown, Ann Arbor. One of her history books -- Great Girls in Michigan History -- won a Michigan Notable Book Award in 2016. Majher is also a past editor of Michigan History magazine, and a graduate of Central Michigan University (BA journalism) and Eastern Michigan University (MS historic preservation, emphasis on museum studies). She operates a museum consulting business called Majher Museum Marketing.
After somewhat accidentally volunteering for, and serving in, Vietnam, Jim Mangi got a PhD in ecology and spent 40 years in consulting, predicting the effects of things like power plants, dams, pipelines, and military equipment. He wrote over 100 public reports, earning praise for their clarity to the public audience. Jim sold his company to care for his wife, who has Alzheimer’s disease, and as a form of respite from caregiving, began writing alternate histories. One of his books rigorously and credibly explores the “What If” of getting the atomic bomb somewhat sooner, and the other later than we actually did. In both books, our modern world, from the geopolitics of Europe, and of East Asia, to US presidential politics, to the space race, to the economy of Michigan, turn out rather differently from what we have today, and from each other.
Jim lives in Saline where he continues caregiving for his wife. He volunteers with the Alzheimer’s Association teaching classes on dementia and caregiving, and he chairs Dementia Friendly Saline, educating communities on how to make life less difficult and more dignified for friends and neighbors living with dementia. He has dedicated both books to his wife, “who has cheerfully lived in an alternative reality for years”, and the dedications further commits that all of Jim’s proceeds go to the Alzheimer’s Association. Saline’s Fine Print bookshop carries both titles: Dropping the Atomic Bomb—on Hirohito and Hitler and The First Atomic Bomb-An Alternate History.
Andrei Markovits is the Karl W. Deutsch Collegiate Professor of Comparative Politics and German Studies and teaches in the Department of Political Science, the Department of Sociology, and the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan. He was born in the West Romanian city of Timisoara where he grew up as the only son in a tri-lingual (Hungarian, Romanian, German) middle class Jewish family ravaged by the Holocaust. He completed his secondary education in Vienna, Austria before embarking on his post-secondary studies at Columbia University where he spent nine years receiving five degrees in the process. He then became an associate of the Center for European Studies at Harvard University of which he was a member for nearly 25 years while holding professorships at Wesleyan University, Boston University, and the University of California at Santa Cruz before joining the faculty of the University of Michigan in 1999 where he has been ever since.
His more than 20 edited and authored books have been translated into many languages (German, Spanish, Chinese, Italian, Korean among others). The topics of his books range from European anti-Americanism to women's soccer; from sports to dog rescue. They have been published by the finest university presses from Princeton University Press to Cornell University Press; from the University of Michigan Press to Cambridge University Press. His memoir entitled THE PASSPORT AS HOME: COMFORT IN ROOTLESSNESS published by the Central European University Press in Budapest and Vienna in 2021. The book has also appeared in a German translation and will be published in Romanian.
Marianne K. Martin
Marianne K. Martin is one of the best-selling lesbian romance authors in the history of the genre, and her books have gained a wide international readership. She is the author of eleven novels. Her highly successful novels include the Lambda Literary Award finalists Tangled Roots, Under the Witness Tree, Mirrors, and For Now, For Always. In 2012, she was honored with the Trailblazer Award from the Golden Crown Literary Society and in 2013 she was inducted into the Saints & Sinners Hall of Fame.
Marianne is also one of the founding partners of Bywater Books. Her responsibilities include managing general operations, as well as the Bywater Prize for Fiction, and working with Bywater’s new writers.
Shari Maser Piracha is the author of the non-fiction book Blessingways: A Guide to Mother centered Baby Showers-Celebrating Pregnancy, Birth, and Motherhood. She wrote this “how-they” book for women when she was a childbirth educator who was also pregnant herself. Later as the homeschooling mother of two bookworms, she started writing children's stories. Her fiction story The Memory Tree was published in baby bug magazine, and she hopes to publish a picture book someday too. Now that Shari’s children are grown, she serves as an independent educational consultant and founder of YouQuest College Advising, as well as part of the student services team at Washtenaw Community College. When she is not busy supporting students, she enjoys playing Scrabble and ping pong, reading lots of books, walking with dogs or other humans in all kinds of Michigan weather, and traveling the world.
Kelly Murdoch-Kitt is an Associate Professor at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan. She is a user experience designer and educator focused on people, systems, and interpersonal interactions. In her work and teaching, human connection drives the creation of effective and socially responsible concepts. She integrates visual communication, user experience, and service design with behavior change and social engagement, drawing on her industry experience as a user experience strategist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Prior to joining U-M, Murdoch-Kitt served as an Assistant Professor in the School of Design at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She also taught in the Graphic Design Programs at the University of San Francisco and California College of the Arts. Her excellence in teaching and contributions to service within the discipline have been recognized by the Design Incubation Communication Design Educator Awards: Intercultural Design Collaborations in Sustainability; and the Decipher 2018 Design Educators Research Conference.
Murdoch-Kitt and her research partner, Dr. Denielle J. Emans of Roger Williams University are co-authors of Intercultural Collaboration by Design: Drawing from Differences, Distances, and Disciplines through Visual Thinking (Routledge 2020). Based on their research, the book offers more than 30 visual thinking activities to support effective collaboration among diverse teams. Their research group, ORBIT Labs (Online Resource for Building Intercultural Teams), was recently recognized as a recipient of the 2022 Carol Hollenshead Inspire Award for Excellence in Promoting Equity and Social Change. Murdoch-Kitt and Emans are currently working together on a new book about the intersection of creative practice and psychological resilience, which argues that everyone can learn to become creatively resilient—and put methods of adaptability, flexibility, and optimism into practice. Its 15 case studies include various projects, practices, and activities that show readers how to utilize creative methods to work positively with uncertainty.