Harvey Ovshinsky Dives Into Detroit’s Underground and Alternative Media Scene in His New Book “Scratching the Surface”

The author, educator and storyteller also reflects on his love as well as his heartache as an artist.

Harvey Ovshinsky is a veteran educator and a multimedia journalist whose lifelong passion for telling Detroit stories was once described by the Detroit Metro Times as being “a colorful and fantastic voyage, at times brave and visionary.” Ovshinsky’s memoir, “Scratching the Surface: Adventures in Storytelling” has just been published by Wayne State University Press.

A storyteller should give a reader “a sense of community, of belonging, and that’s what storytelling does, it’s a shared experience.” — Harvey Ovshinsky, author, educator and storyteller

The book tells of Ovshinsky’s love as well as his heartache as an artist along with giving readers a tour of Detroit’s underground media history.

Listen: Veteran educator and author Harvey Ovshinsky talks about his new memoir “Scratching the Surface.”

Wayne State University Press
Wayne State University Press


Harvey Ovshinsky is a veteran educator, multimedia journalist and author of the new memoir, “Scratching the Surface: Adventures in Storytelling.”

Ovshinsky says a story has the power to transport readers and bring them into a sense of relationship with the author and others. Ovshinsky explains that storytelling offers “a sense of community, of belonging … it’s a shared experience,” he says. On the role of location and specificity in narrative placemaking, Ovshinsky says details about a certain city can create a sense of vivid realism and familiarity for those who live there but can also create descriptions that resonate with readers who live anywhere. “I can tell my Detroit stories and have them resonate with people who don’t necessarily live in Detroit,” he says.

As a writer, Ovshinsky says it’s important for a writer to get below the surface, where the “good stuff” is. “I felt it was important to scratch my own surface and help others scratch theirs,” the author says.

You can receive a copy of Ovshinsky’s book as a thank you gift by making a one-time contribution of $200 during WDET’s Spring fundraiser right now.

Web story written by Allise Hurd

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