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About Susan Messer Grand River and Joy Additional writings Links Contact Susan Messer Susan Messer's Blog

~ Grand River and Joy
~ Work available online
~ Other places where my work has appeared
~ Interviews and podcasts
~ Performance piece about literary rejection
~ Others who have supported or awarded my work
~ Some current and former clients
~ Other favorites

Information about my novel Grand River and Joy
University of Michigan Press

Work available online

"An Extended Definition of Unclassifiable Knowing," published in the  Baltimore Review, follows my  deepening connection with another family based on confusion between our addresses  over at least 30 years.

“Of Song Sheets and Latkes,” which appears on the Moment magazine website, is my deep dive into Chanukah memories.

"On the Promenade Deck," published in Superstition Review: The Online Literary Magazine at Arizona State University. This is my homage to Thomas Mann's Magic Mountain.
Superstition Review

“Dearest Tabitha,” published in Lost. This is the essay about that broken pot in the upper-right-hand corner of my home page. Before being published in Lost, the essay won second place in the prose series of the Guild Literary Complex.
Lost Magazine Issue 28

“Torah Studies,” published in Killing the Buddha. This essay won second place in the Center for Yiddish Culture’s writing competition.
Killing the Buddha

"Hope: What It Is and What (if Anything) It’s Good For,” an essay that grew out of a conversation among neighbors. It was published in The Typescript. With a reading.

“Best Despair Antidote of 2019: Reading Marcel Proust,” published in The Typescript, describes the experience reading and discussing Proust with friends over many years. Imagine thinking we needed despair antidotes in 2019! Who knew what lay ahead?

“Why Detroit?” published in Triquarterly, is a review essay about the complex forces that have shaped and challenged Detroit.


Other places where my work has appeared

Another Chicago Magazine
Chicago Public Radio
Chicago Reader
Colorado Review
Creative Nonfiction
Fourth Genre
Glimmer Train
Moment Magazine
North American Review

Interviews and podcasts

University of Michigan Press Author Podcast Series

The Books for Walls Project
(Even the dog submitted a question.)

College of Dupage: "A Reading and Discussion with Susan Messer.”

Rejection RhumbaPerformance piece about literary rejection

Rejection Rhumba
My cohorts and I presented this work at the open mic at Molly Malone’s Irish Pub.

Others who have supported or awarded my work

Bill Rauhauser (1918-2017)
A master photographer who documented beautiful Detroit for decades. The cover photo on Grand River and Joy comes courtesy of Bill.

AwardCenter for Yiddish Culture
Sponsor of an annual writing competition that I won several years ago with my essay “Torah Studies.”

Cindy Trim
Finally, a photographer I feel comfortable with. She took many of the photos that appear on this website. Email her at or call 312.806.3221.

Colleen Mohyde
My now-retired agent at Doe Coover Agency.

Guild Literary Complex
They “look at literary culture and ask ‘what’s missing?’”
My essay, “Dearest Tabitha,” won second place
in their prose series.

Hannah Jennings Design
The designer of this website.
The boiler and steam professionals who kept me entertained while helping me with research for the boiler chapter in my novel.

Illinois Arts Council
Provides financial and technical assistance to artists (including me, twice), arts organizations, and other community organizations that present arts programming.

Janet Desaulniers
An American author and teacher. She was my first writing teacher.

Karma Foundation
Funds the Moment magazine prize for short fiction

Laura Kasischke
An American novelist and poet.

Literary Rejections on Display
The proprietor of this wonderful website published an interview with me about overcoming rejection.

Masha Hamilton
A novelist, writing instructor, and world traveler.

Oak Park Public Library

Pie bakingPatry Francis
A novelist, blogger, and friend. Every summer, we bake blueberry pies for our muses.

An artists’ colony in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Roberta Cantow
A filmmaker and digital storyteller.

Rosellen Brown
An American author.

Russ Gibb (1931-2019)
Former owner of the Grande Ballroom in Detroit, located near Grand River and Joy Road.

University of Michigan Press
The publisher of my novel.

Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs
The largest labor archive in North America. This is where I did archival research for my novel.

S. L. Wisenberg
A/k/a Cancer Bitch and one of my former writing teachers. She taught me about creative nonfiction.


Some current and former clients
I work full time as a self-employed editor.

American Bar Foundation
Cambridge University Press

MacArthur Foundation
Project Exploration
University of Chicago Press
Urban Gateways


Other favorites

"Your average literate litter lady"
The Wednesday Journal article about my weekly practice of litter collection.

The Book Table
My local independent book store.

Chicago Literary Hall of Fame
An organization that honors and preserves Chicago’s great literary heritage.

Grace Paley
American short story writer, poet, and political activist.

Green Community Connections
An organization devoted to building community and inspiring change that promotes environmental sustainability at the family, organizational, and public policy levels. I’ve been writing articles for their newsletter.

Eloisa Cartonera
A publishing collective I discovered while traveling in Argentina.

Compound Yellow
A new artists’ collective in my neighborhood. Susan Messer kissing Winston Churchill's nose


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