University Admissions & TOEFL/IELTS for International Families & Students

Saturday January 27, 2018: 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for grade 9 - adult

International families and students have many questions about applying for undergraduate and graduate studies in the United States. What are the English language requirements? Do I need SAT, ACT, GRE, or GMAT scores? Do I need to write an essay or a personal statement?

During this presentation, Michigan Language Center (MLC) staff will teach participants about the admissions process and language requirements for American universities, looking specifically at the admission process and requirements for nearby schools such as Concordia University (Ann Arbor), Eastern Michigan University, and the University of Michigan.

Emerging Writers Workshop: High-Concept Ideas

Monday February 5, 2018: 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm -- Westgate Branch: West Side Room

This event is intended for grade 6 - adult

Getting an idea for a book is only the start. How do you develop that idea into something compelling enough to carry an entire novel, memoir, or nonfiction book? In this workshop, Alex Kourvo and Bethany Neal will discuss growing an idea, understanding genre, and the best way to make your book stand out from the others on the shelf.

This is part of the monthly Emerging Writers Workshops, which offer support, learning, and advice for local authors. Each month, two weeks after the workshop, there is a meet-up where the instructors will read samples of your work and offer advice and assistance in a casual, supportive atmosphere. Do you have a completed manuscript? Consider submitting it to the library's imprint Fifth Avenue Press:

Homegoing: A Conversation with Yaa Gyasi | Washtenaw Reads 2018 Author Event

Tuesday February 6, 2018: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Rackham Auditorium, 915 E Washington St

This event is intended for grade 9 - adult

2018 Institute for the Humanities Jill S. Harris Memorial Lecture

The Institute for the Humanities at the University of Michigan will host a conversation with Yaa Gyasi, author of Homegoing (2016), the 2018 selection for Washtenaw Reads.

Homegoing tells the stories of two West African half-sisters and their descendants. One sister, Esi, is captured and brought to the Americas as a slave; the other sister, Effia, stays in Africa and marries a British slaver. Over the course of seven generations, Gyasi illuminates the legacies of slavery and the wide spectrum of colonial African and African-American experiences.

Each of the novel's fourteen chapters centers on the life of a person descended from Effia or Esi. Through these stories, Gyasi narrates their every day lives, as well as their roles in major historical events. The novel begins in the late eighteenth century and ends in the present day, so that by the end we feel the full weight of history behind her characters.

Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana and came to the United States as a child. She is a graduate of Stanford and received her Masters of Fine Arts from the Iowa Writers Workshop. In 2016, she was chosen for the National Book Foundation's "5 under 35" award. Homegoing, her debut novel, has been nominated for the several awards and won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award in 2017.

About Jill S. Harris: The Jill S. Harris Memorial Endowment was established in 1985 in memory of Jill Harris, a resident of Chicago and undergraduate student at U-M who passed away due to injuries from an auto accident. Established by Roger and Meredith Harris, Jill’s parents, her grandparents Allan and Norma Harris, and friends, the fund brings a distinguished visitor to campus each year who will appeal to undergraduate students interested in the humanities and the arts.

This event is part of the 2018 Washtenaw Read. The Washtenaw Reads program is a community initiative to promote reading and civic dialogue through the shared experience of reading and discussing a common book. Participating libraries include Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, Milan, Northfield Township, Saline, and Ypsilanti. For more information about Washtenaw Reads and previous years' reads, go to

West African Art and Music in Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing, with Victoria Shields

Tuesday February 20, 2018: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event is intended for grade 9 - adult

Attend an interactive workshop for music and art lovers with discussion of the 2018 Washtenaw Read, Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi. Drawing from the African American Cultural Humanities (AC) curriculum, Ms Shields examines the social and historical contexts presented in Homegoing using music and pieces from the Detroit Institute of Art collection. Participants will leave with a better understanding of the influence of West Africa on American music styles.

Victoria Shields is a doctoral student in the Eastern Michigan University Urban Education program focusing on curriculum development and programming. She conducts teacher training at state and national conferences and focuses on the development of Humanities and Social Science curriculum with the integration of music, dance and pieces from the Detroit Institute of Art collection.

This event is part of the 2018 Washtenaw Read.