The Reading Collective Plans Programs Around My Friend Dahmer
Four local libraries have combined forces with The Reading Collective a five-week-long series of special events in March and April, exploring the provocative award-winning graphic novel My Friend Dahmer. Librarians from Berkley, Ferndale, Huntington Woods and Oak Park plan to host unique programs discussing (or inspired by) the subject matter of author Derf Backderf’s illustrated memoir. Readers will get a chance to visit their neighboring libraries for insightful programs and socialize with their fellow patrons.
The Reading Collective’s selected book, My Friend Dahmer, presents a compelling perspective on infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Derf Backderf is an award winning, international bestselling author and cartoonist who happened to be classmates with Dahmer in junior high and high school during the 1980’s. My Friend Dahmer was listed by Time Magazine’s Top 5 Nonfiction Books list of 2012, and was recently adapted into a major motion picture. Derf worked as a staff cartoonist for several newspapers in the 1990’s and won the Robert F Kennedy Journalism Award for cartooning in 2006. His first graphic novel, Punk Rock & Trailer Parks came out in 2010.
Copies of My Friend Dahmer will be available for patrons to check out from their home library. Free copies of the book will be also available at all participating libraries on a first-come, first-serve basis, starting in February. Throughout March, there will be group discussions hosted at Berkley and Oak Park libraries, including one inside a bar just down the street from the Ferndale Library. There will also be a film screening tied to the themes of Derf’s book at the Ferndale Library, a presentation on a local true crime event hosted at Berkley’s Library, and improv comedy sketches inspired by the book at GO Comedy! in Ferndale. On April 12, the author visits The Ringwald Theatre to talk about the book with participants of Reading Collective.
Public libraries often coordinate Community Read events similar to The Reading Collective, but it will be an exceptional opportunity for residents of each of the four communities to venture out and experience cultural programming in a new setting, where they can encounter and engage with fellow readers the next city over. It’s also a chance for recreational readers to expand not only into the genre of non-fiction, but to appreciate the substantial merits and dramatic imagery of the artform of graphic novel storytelling.
Reading Collective Schedule of Events, March / April 2018
Each program will be a new and creative opportunity for commencing more insightful dialogues about the book.
Every Wed. in March (starting March 7th): GO Comedy! shows – 8pm
March 7th: Oak Park book club, 6-8
March 13th: Dinner and a Movie at Ferndale – Eating Roul (and taco bar!) 6:30pm
March 15th: Berkley Reading Society 6:30-8
March 21st: CSI at Oak Park 6:30-7:15
Book Party @ The Emory 7:30
March 28th: Witch of Delray at Huntington Woods 7:00pm
April 4th: Michigan True Crime: the Oakland County Child Killer case – 6:30pm @Berkley
April 12th: Derf Backderf @ The Ringwald Theatre 7pm, doors at 6:45pm
More about Derf Backderf
Comics creator Derf Backderf was born and raised in a small Ohio town outside Akron. After a brief stint at art school, he dropped out and worked on the back of a garbage truck, an experience that was the basis for his ongoing comix project, Trashed.
Backderf’s first graphic novel, Punk Rock & Trailer Parks (SLG Publishing, 2009), a bawdy comic account of the punk rock scene in Akron, Ohio, was cited by Booklist as “one of the stand-out graphic novels of the year.” It became a bestseller in France after its 2014 release and was awarded the Prix Bulles Zik literary prize.
Derf’s most famous graphic novel is My Friend Dahmer (Abrams Comicarts, 2012), the haunting account of his teenage friendship at Revere High School with the future serial killer. It has been hailed as one of the finest graphic novels in recent memory by Slate, The Plain Dealer, Publishers Weekly, USA Today, Kirkus Reviews and many more. Time magazine listed it as one of the five best non-fiction books of the year.
My Friend Dahmer received an Alex Award from the American Library Association, one of only ten books honored, and was named one of the 100 Greatest Graphic Novels by the same organization. It was awarded an Angoulême Prize at the Angoulême International Comics Festival in France, as well as the Priz du Polar and Prix Litararie, the top scholastic book award, both in France. A film adaptation of MY FRIEND DAHMER will debut in 2017.