Good morning. My name is James Schirmer and I'm currently chair of the English department at the University of Michigan-Flint and, on behalf of my fellow event planners and partners, it is my honor and pleasure to welcome you to the Flint Festival of Writers.
It's great to see everyone this morning. I'd like to think that you're here for many of the same reasons that brought my colleagues/companions/comrades Sarah Carson, Bob Campbell, Katie Curnow, Connor Coyne, Jan Worth Nelson, and I together: the belief, the knowledge that Flint is a place rich with stories, that the writing done in and about Flint is uniquely important and deserving of attention and support. Everything about today's festival is intended to acknowledge the power and value in reading, in writing, in sharing words with others, sharing our perspective, sharing our stories, in sharing your story.
So, we can and do look forward to learning from LaTashia, Jonah, Ben, and Bob in this morning's panel, to working with Jonah and Liz and Kelsey this afternoon, to hearing from Flint's young writers, to networking and perusing at the book fair, and to listening to LaTashia in the early evening. And yes, there is an after-party open mic celebration at Totem tonight, but, given what I think unites us in coming here, my hope is for the entire day to be a celebration.
Here's to a beautiful, inspiring, restorative day in the city of Flint.