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Book Lovers’ Best Kept Secret

On April 20, 1972, a group of book enthusiasts representing various Detroit organizations met in the Detroit News building on Lafayette Boulevard to create the Metro Detroit Book & Author Society (MDBA) for the sole purpose of presenting a luncheon that featured major national authors. Five months later they held their first luncheon in the Grand Ballroom of Sheraton-Cadillac Hotel in Detroit. Tickets were $5.95 and the author line-up included Richard Bach, Helen Hayes, Anita Loos and Marjorie Holmes. By 1973, the society was presenting two luncheons, in the spring and the fall, and that has continued until today.

The luncheons, considered as one of the largest and best one-day author events in the country, aimed to present top national authors in a comfortable, casual setting, with an opportunity to buy signed books and meet the authors. Guest authors have included Steven King, James Patterson, Mary Higgins Clark, and Barbara Taylor Bradford. Celebrity authors have included Cokie Roberts, Jane Seymour, Gladys Knight, Lee Iococca, Tim Russert and Dan Rather.

I attended my first luncheon a few years ago and not long afterward, through an invite by Robin Gaines, became a board member. Both Robin and I are board members representing Detroit Working Writers, and more recently for me, also Authors Guild of America (Detroit Chapter). The luncheon was at Burton Manor Banquet and Conference Center in Livonia and I was impressed by the number of attendees, which I later learned could range anywhere from 900 to 1600 people.  

“How did I not know about this event?” I asked Robin

Robin said what other members often say, that “It’s Metro Detroit best kept secret.”

I thought, this shouldn’t be kept a secret. This is proof that the death of books is really exaggerated. Metro Detroit Book and Author Society luncheons are a nice way to connect with other book lovers, and while enjoying your lunch, listen to authors share their stories, then later have them sign your books. So interviewed MDBA’s vice president, Joan Elmouchi. Joan is a retired public library director who works part-time as fiction librarian for the Southfield Public Library. Originally from New Jersey, she has lived in Michigan since 1975, attended Rutgers University and the University of Michigan and has been on the Book & Author board for almost 20 years! 

This year’s fall luncheon, the 93rd luncheon, is Monday, October 15 at Burton Manor. Here’s a list of guest authors and to learn more, visit their website https://www.bookandauthor.org/

Lisa Unger is the award-winning New York Times and international bestselling author of sixteen novels, including her newest, “Under My Skin,” a twisting, spellbinding thriller. Her books are published in 26 languages worldwide, have sold millions of copies, and have been named “Best of the Year” or top picks by The Today Show, Good Morning America, Entertainment Weekly, Amazon, and Goodreads, to name a few. Combining knowledge of the human psyche and an understanding of fear, readers and critics alike call her one of the top writers of psychological thrillers today.

Lisa Unger                 Lisa Unger (Under My Skin)

Mark Leibovich is the New York Times Magazine’s chief national correspondent and is a lifelong New England Patriot’s fan. He tried for years to profile quarterback Tom Brady, and in 2014, Brady finally agreed. Then came the infamous “deflategate” controversy. Now, when pro football is being attacked on many fronts, Leibovich has taken a fascinating in-depth look at where the sport is going in his new book “Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times.” He is also the author of the scathing 2013 best-selling Washington expose “This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral — Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking! — in America’s Gilded Capital.”

Mark LeibovichMark Leibovich (Big Game).jpg

Anne Ford, great-granddaughter of Henry Ford and daughter of Henry Ford II, became a well-known writer and advocate for people with learning disabilities after her daughter Allegra was diagnosed with learning problems. She has written several books on the subject, including her latest, “The Stigmatized Child: Helping Parents Overcome the Stigma Attached to Learning Disabilities, ADHD and Lack of Social Skills.” Ford served as Chairman of the Board of the National Center for Learning  Disabilities from 1989 to 2001 and has received many honors for her work and has lectured widely on LD and ADHD issues.

Anne FordAnne Ford (The Stigmatized Child)

Dr. Rana Awdish was a young critical care physician near the end of her medical training at Wayne State University in Detroit when she suddenly became a patient fighting for her own life. In her critically acclaimed best-selling book, “In Shock: My Journey from Death to Recovery and the Redemptive Power of Hope,” she reveals how her troubling experiences exposed her to flaws in today’s care standards and how to better embrace the emotional bond between doctor and patient. Today she serves as Medical Director of Care Experience for the entire Henry Ford Medical Group.

rana-awdish.jpgRana-Awdish (In Shock)

Anna Clark is an award-winning Michigan journalist whose work has appeared in Elle Magazine, the New York Times, Politico, and others. Like many people, she began to take notice when the residents of Flint began to complain that something was very wrong with the water coming out of their taps. Clark, who has covered the story from the beginning, has written the first full account of the Flint water scandal and its broader implications for pollution and America’s communities in her new book “The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy.” An excerpt from her book appeared in the Detroit Sunday Free Press in July.

Anna Clark    Anna Clark (The Poisoned City)

To buy tickets, visit https://www.bookandauthor.org/tickets/