Author Sean Madigan Hoen will be appearing at the Baldwin Public Library (300 W Merrill St, Birmingham, MI 48009) on Sunday, May 17 from 2:00-3:30pm to promote the release of his debut memoir, Songs Only You Know, which was chosen as a 2015 Michigan Notable Book selection. Books will be available for sale at the event. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Book Beat (248) 968-1190.
Eighteen-year-old Sean Madigan Hoen was struggling to keep his involvement in the city’s hardcore punk scene a secret from his family. Then he learned that his father, too, had a second life—as a crack addict.
Songs Only You Know begins in the ’90s and spans a decade during which the family fights to hold itself together. Sean’s father cycles from rehab to binge, his heartsick sister spirals into depression, and his mother works to spare what can be spared. Sean seeks salvation in a community of eccentrics and outsiders, but the closer he comes to realizing his musical dream, the further he drifts from his family and himself.
By turns heartbreaking and mordantly funny, Songs Only You Know is a fierce, compassionate rendering of the chaos and misadventure of a young man’s life.
“Hoen is a particularly gifted writer who writes evocatively about Detroit’s hardcore punk scene and decaying Midwest cities of the 1990s.” —Michigan Live
“Songs Only You Know is a gritty, gripping punk-rock memoir . . . nuanced and poetic. It’s funny at times, always brutally honest; a half-healed bruise, tender and multi-colored. Few books convey the fever-pitch intensity of youth with such vividness and so little glamorization, or as deeply explore the heartbreaking complexity of family—both those we’re born into and the ones we choose.” —Rolling Stone (pick for Best Book of 2014)
Sean Madigan Hoen (pronounced Hayne) was raised in Dearborn, Michigan and is the author of Songs Only You Know: A Memoir. His short stories and prose have been published in BOMB Magazine, where he was awarded the 2011 Fiction Award, as well as The American Literary Review, Paste Magazine, and others. He was awarded a 2010 teaching fellowship from Columbia University, and has received support from The Anderson Center and the Jerome Foundation. In a previous life he was a song-and-dance man, traveling in used conversion vans and performing to what one might kindly refer to as “intimate crowds.” More recently, he’s been working on a short story collection and a novel. Hoen has taught at Columbia University and Western Michigan University. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York and teaches creative writing at Rutgers University.