In partnership with The Black Academy of Arts and Letters
A recording of the event will be available through September 14.
A literary tour-de-force that pays tribute to Detroit's legendary neighborhood, a mecca for jazz, sports, and politics, Black Bottom Saints is a powerful blend of fact and imagination reminiscent of E. L. Doctorow's classic novel Ragtime.
In Black Bottom Saints, Alice Randall imagines the last days of real-life gossip columnist and emcee Ziggy Johnson as he reflects on his life from the confines of a hospital bed. Ziggy recalls influences, mentors, friends, and lovers and decides to narrate a compilation of those he calls Black Bottom's "52 Saints," including legendary figures such as Dinah Washington and Joe Louis. Ziggy's way of paying homage to these greats is to top off each profile with a unique cocktail recipe. Black Bottom Saints celebrates African American creative spirit, imagination, and genius, while remembering that despite their contributions, many of these “saints” endured the same indignities that are at the root of today’s unrest and demonstrations.
Alice Randall is the author of numerous novels, including The Wind Done Gone and Pushkin and the Queen of Spades. An award-winning songwriter, she co-wrote the #1 hit “XXX’s and OOO’s.” A native of Detroit, Randall teaches courses on African American culture at Vanderbilt University.
"Black Bottom Saints is easily the most inventive and musical novel I've read in a decade. Alice Randall has rewritten and re-energized the rules of the American novel!" —Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy
Detroit-based mixologists Brian Edwards and Raven Love of Double Strained Collective will host a pre-event Happy Hour starting at 6:40 p.m. to teach you how to make some of the cocktails featured in the book.
Free or Pay What You Can: $1, $3, $5, $10
One ticket + book with signed bookplate shipped directly to your home after August 18: $35