Make Beautiful Sh*t Together

a delightful event series

It’s a Ross Gay extravaganza at Storyhouse Bookpub, just in time for his Book of (More) Delights! As Ross says in Inciting Joy, let’s ‘Make Beautiful Sh*t Together.’

Saturday, September 23 | 7pm: The Event of Delights: Celebrate The Book of (More) Delights with a virtual visit from author Ross Gay and delightful voices of DSM writers in person. Mingle and enjoy drinks + dessert [by Bay Laurel Baking Co.] in Storyhouse (tickets cover dessert + drinks). Then, gather in Raygun’s mezzanine to hear local writers share their original delights a la Ross-Gay-essayette. Ross will zoom in and share with us from The Book of (More) Delights. Signed copies of The Book of (More) Delights will be available as well as featured writers’ works and other delightful ephemera. Meet in Storyhouse.

click above to reserve your copie(s)!

Featured Speakers:

Ross Gay (Ross will Zoom in!)

Can’t wait to share delight with you all and READ TOGETHER, DES MOINES.

Ross Gay

Ross Gay is the author of four books of poetry: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; Be Holding, winner of the PEN American Literary Jean Stein Award; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. In addition to his poetry, Ross has released three collections of essays—The Book of Delights was released in 2019 and was a New York Times bestseller; Inciting Joy was released in 2022, and his newest collection, The Book of (More) Delights was released in September of 2023.

Megan Bannister
Megan Bannister is an Iowa transplant who has called the Hawkeye State home for more than 14 years. An avid road tripper, Megan writes about offbeat destinations, roadside attractions, and “world’s largest” things. She is also the author of Iowa Supper Clubs and the newly released book, Secret Iowa: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure. Megan lives in Des Moines with her husband, cat named Poe, and approximately 52 houseplants. Follow along with her adventures on social media, or by visiting

William Bortz
William Bortz is a husband, poet, writer, and editor. He currently is a volunteer curator for Button Poetry and volunteer reader at Longleaf Review. His work has appeared in many literary magazines and he has self-published two books of poetry, Lately, I’ve been Drinking Alone (2014) and Shards (2018); a chapbook, The Sky Grew Back with Clouds (2018), and The Grief We’re Given (Central Avenue, 2021). Please talk to him about basketball or music.

Isaac Hamlet
Isaac Hamlet is a Midwest writer originally from Michigan and now living in Iowa. He’s currently the Arts & Culture editor at Little Village Magazine – an Iowa-based monthly publication – and is a former reporter for The Des Moines Register. He independently publishes genre fiction books under the pseudonym R.E. Bellesmith.

Abbey Paxton
Abbey Paxton owns Storyhouse Bookpub and loves nothing more than bringing people together around books and reading. She loves everything Ross Gay has ever written.

Abena Sankofa Imhotep
TEDx speaker, consultant, writer and podcaster Abena Imhotep is the founder and executive director of Sankofa Strategies Consulting, which focuses on fostering conversations on inclusion and equity in businesses and organizations.The Des Moines native is also the founder of Sankofa Literary & Empowerment Group which comprises SLG Book Club and the Sankofa Literary Academy. Both promote literacy and lifelong learning by celebrating works by Black authors.

Katy Swalwell
Katy Swalwell, PhD is a teacher, scholar, and author who has written several books for educators including Social Studies for A Better World and Fix Injustice, Not Kids, as well as the Amazing Iowa children’s book series. She is the co-founder of Past Present Future Publishing, a book press dedicated to uplifting stories from the margins in Iowa with all profits going to youth justice movements. She lives in her hometown of Des Moines with her thoughtful husband, two adventurous young children, and a dog whose greatest delight is laying on a bed for hours each day.

F. Amanda Tugade
F. Amanda Tugade covers social justice for the Des Moines Register.

Denise Williams
Denise Williams wrote her first book in the 2nd grade. I Hate You and its sequel, I Still Hate You, featured a tough, funny heroine, a quirky hero, witty banter, and a dragon. Minus the dragons, these are still the books she likes to write. After penning those early works, she finished second grade and eventually earned a PhD. After growing up a military brat around the world and across the country, Denise now lives in Iowa with her husband, son, and two ornery shih-tzus who think they own the house. How to Fail at Flirting was her debut novel and she can usually be found reading, writing, or thinking about love stories.