Book lovers take note: National Writers Series announces new season lineup

The National Writers Series in Traverse City is releasing its new lineup of authors to take center stage during the 2014 season.

The National Writers Series in Traverse City is releasing its new lineup of authors to take center stage during the 2014 season.

The 2014 Winter/Spring & Summer season kicks off on February 27 with New York Times bestselling author and YouTube sensation Kelly Corrigan and concludes on July 7 when the National Writers Series will present a very special event during the National Cherry Festival with Diana Gabaldon, the mega bestselling author of the wildly popular Outlander Series.

National Writers Series executive director Jill Tewsley says of the new season, "You'll notice that more than half of the authors this season are women. We have hosted some amazing female authors in the past but we have been asked repeatedly to bring more female authors to Traverse City and so we did! The new season features five women who write in a variety of genres- including a master of the crime thriller, a modern day Jane Austen and the author of a historic saga with a massive following."

February 27 at 7 PM: Kelly Corrigan With guest host Rich Fahle, founder and CEO of Bibliostar.TV Corrigan is the author of The Middle Place and Lift, both New York Times bestsellers.

Corrigan is a YouTube sensation whose beloved "Transcending" video has been seen by more than 5 million viewers. She is also a contributor to O: The Oprah Magazine and Good Housekeeping. If you had asked Kelly Corrigan, after she graduated from college, whose voice she would hear in her head for the rest of her life it certainly wasn't her mother's. But now, her mother is the only one who can "lift the anvils that sit heaviest" on her. This shift began when Corrigan unexpectedly found herself a nanny of two young children after she arrived in Australia on a quest to "Become Interesting."

Corrigan chronicled her time as a nanny in suburban Sydney in her latest book Glitter and Glue -a compelling memoir about stepping out and stepping up, mothers and daughters, love and loss. Corrigan's explorations of family life and parenthood have brought her to the forefront of new American writers. Her first book, a memoir called The Middle Place, recounts her father's and her own battle with cancer.

Shortly after her own battle with breast cancer, Corrigan launched Circus Of Cancer, a how-to web site for friends and family of women with the disease. Corrigan also created the philanthropy Notes and Words in 2010, and has since raised over $2 million for Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland in California. Corrigan is, more than anything else, the mother of two young girls. While they're at school she writes a newspaper column, the occasional magazine article, and possible chapters of a novel

Rich Fahle is the Founder and CEO of Astral Road Author Media and Bibliostar.TV. Fahle draws on his extensive background as a marketing agent for authors, publishers, and book retailers in the emerging digital marketplace. Before launching Astral Road in 2010, Fahle served as Vice President, Digital Content, E-Commerce and Entertainment at Borders. Prior to Borders, Fahle was Chief Spokesperson and Communications Director for C-SPAN, the national public affairs cable television network based in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Reserved Seating: $25 (ticket only) $42 (ticket plus book - hardcover) General Admission: $20 (ticket only) $37 (ticket plus book - hardcover) Educator Discount: $5 off ticket price with valid ID Student Discount: $10 off ticket price with valid ID

March 17 at 7 pm: George Packer With guest host Benjamin Busch (2012 NWS guest and author of the award-winning memoir Dust to Dust)

Packer became a staff writer for The New Yorker in 2003 and has covered the Iraq War for the magazine. His book The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq," was named one of the ten best books of 2005 by the New York Times and won the New York Public Library's Helen Bernstein Book Award and an Overseas Press Club's book award. He has also written about the atrocities committed in Sierra Leone, civil unrest in the Ivory Coast, the megacity of Lagos, and global counterinsurgency. In 2003, Packer was awarded two Overseas Press Club awards, one for his twenty-thousand-word examination of the difficulties faced during the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq, which appeared in November, 2003, and the other for his coverage of the civil war in Sierra Leone, which appeared in January, 2003.

The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, which won the 2013 National Book Award for nonfiction, is a novelistic and kaleidoscopic history of the new America. Whatever bound America together he argues, has slowly been unwound. He supports his argument through the stories of four main characters. "What will stay with you," writes the Christian Science Monitor, "are the book's people, people Packer never turns into ideological mascots, people who struggle to survive, to create, to improve, even as the systems of support erode around them." He deftly delineates how quickly political idealism can disappear when one becomes exposed to a world of easy money.

He has contributed numerous articles, essays, and reviews on foreign affairs, American politics, and literature to the New York Times Magazine, Dissent, Mother Jones, Harper's, and other publications. He has taught writing at Harvard, Bennington, and Columbia. Packer lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Benjamin Busch is the author of the award-winning memoir, Dust to Dust. The son of acclaimed novelist Frederick Busch-Ben's work has been compared to Annie Dillard's Tinker at Pilgrim Creek. A former U.S. Marine Corps officer who served two combat tours in Iraq, Busch returned to the U.S. to play a Marine in HBO's Generation Kill. As an actor, he is best known for his appearances in Homicide, The Wire, Generation Kill, and The Beast. Busch received a Purple Heart medal in 2005 for combat wounds sustained in Ramadi, Iraq. Ben lives in Reed City, Michigan, with his wife, historian Tracy Busch, and two young daughters.

Premium Reserved Seating: $35 (ticket only) $46 (ticket plus book - trade paper) Reserved Seating: $25 (ticket only) $36 (ticket plus book - trade paper) General Admission: $20 (ticket only) $31 (ticket plus book - trade paper) Educator Discount: $5 off ticket price with valid ID Student Discount: $10 off ticket price with valid ID

April 8 at 7 pm: Steve Luxenberg. Presented in partnership with the Michigan Humanities Council With guest host Mardi Link (author of Boostrapper, When Evil Came to Good Hart, and Isadore's Secret)

"The secret emerged, without warning or provocation, on an ordinary April afternoon in 1995." Beth Luxenberg was an only child. Or so everyone thought. Six months after Beth's death, her secret emerged. It had a name: Annie. Beth's son Steve set out to find out the reasons that his mother would hide her sister and his pursuit resulted in Annie's Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret - a book that is part memoir, part detective story, and part history. Through personal letters and photographs, official records and archival documents, as well as dozens of interviews, readers will revisit his mother's world in the 1930s and 1940s in search of how and why the secret was born.

Employing his skills as a journalist while struggling to maintain his empathy as a son, Luxenberg pieces together the story of his mother's motivations, his aunt's unknown life, and the times in which they lived. His search takes him to imperial Russia and Depression-era Detroit, through the Holocaust in Ukraine and the Philippine war zone, and back to the hospitals where Annie and many others were lost to memory.

Annie's Ghosts was chosen as the 2013-14 Great Michigan Read book and was named to The Washington Post's Best Books of 2009 list. It was also honored as a Michigan Notable Book for 2010 by the Library of Michigan. Luxenberg has worked for more than 30 years as a newspaper editor and reporter and is currently an associate editor at the Washington Post and a graduate of Harvard College.

Guest host Mardi Link was born in Detroit and grew up in the state's southeastern suburbs, spending summers up north on Lake Michigan. The only daughter of educators, she attended Michigan State University's school of journalism, and has worked as a police and general assignment reporter, magazine editor, and freelance writer. Her first book, When Evil Came to Good Hart, was published in 2008 by the University of Michigan Press and spent four months on the Heartland Bestseller List. Her second book, Isadore's Secret, was published in 2009 also by the University of Michigan Press, and chronicles the mysterious disappearance of a Felician nun from her convent in 1907. It was named a Michigan Notable Book, a Great Lakes Great Read, and also spent several months on the Heartland Bestseller List. Mardi's latest work, Bootstrapper is a memoir from Knopf. She lives on a hobby farm near Traverse City.

Reserved Seating: $25 (ticket only) $36 (ticket plus book - trade paper) General Admission: $20 (ticket only) $31 (ticket plus book - trade paper) Educator Discount: $5 off ticket price with valid ID Student Discount: $10 off ticket price with valid ID

April 24 at 7 pm: Anchee Min, presented in partnership with the International Affairs Forum in celebration of their June 2014 conference on China with guest host Ron Hogan (contributing editor at Shelf Awareness and founder of

Anchee Min was born in Shanghai in 1957. At seventeen she was sent to a labor collective, where a talent scout for Madame Mao's Shanghai Film Studio recruited her to work as a movie actress. She moved to the United States in 1984. Her first memoir, Red Azalea, was an international bestseller, published in twenty-seven countries. She has since published six novels, including Empress Orchid, Becoming Madame Mao, and, most recently, Pearl of China.

It's been 20 years since Anchee Min made her literary debut with her novel Red Azalea, her acclaimed memoir of growing up in China during the violent trauma of the Cultural Revolution. Two decades later her follow-up memoir, The Cooked Seed, picks up where Red Azalea left off. She arrives in America in 1984 with $500 in her pocket, no English and a plan to study art in Chicago. Min teaches herself English by watching Sesame Street, keeps herself afloat working five jobs at once, lives in unheated rooms, suffers rape, collapses from exhaustion, marries poorly and divorces. But she also gives birth to her daughter, Lauryann, who will inspire her and finally root her in her new country.

Min's eventual successes - her writing career, a daughter at Stanford, a second husband she loves - are remarkable, but it is her struggle throughout toward genuine selfhood that elevates this dramatic, classic immigrant story to something powerfully universal.

Min's writing has been praised for its raw, sharp language and historical accuracy. Min credits the English language with giving her a means to express herself, arming her with the voice and vocabulary to write about growing up during China's Cultural Revolution. "There was no way for me to describe those experiences or talk about those feelings in Chinese," she has said of a language too burdened by Maoist rhetoric. Today, she writes candidly about events she was once encouraged to bury. The New York Times has called her "a wild, passionate and fearless American writer."

Guest host Ron Hogan helped create the literary Internet by launching in 1995. He maintains an active presence in New York City's literary scene, hosting and curating events that introduce readers to great writers, from Lady Jane's Salon (the first monthly reading series dedicated to romance fiction) to the Author/Blogger series at Brooklyn's Greenlight Bookstore. He's also a contributing editor at Shelf Awareness, and has written book reviews and feature stories for publications like, The Dallas Morning News, and The Daily Beast.

Premium Reserved Seating: $50 (ticket only) $61 (ticket plus book - trade paper) Reserved Seating: $35 (ticket only) $46 (ticket plus book - trade paper) General Admission: $25 (ticket only) $36 (ticket plus book- trade paper) Educator Discount: $5 off ticket price with valid ID Student Discount: $10 off ticket price with valid ID

May 29 at 7 pm: Emily Giffin with guest host to be announced.

After just six novels Emily Giffin has garnered a huge and loyal following. Her last three books have sold more than 400,000 copies each in hardcover and eBook alone, and she has debuted as high as #2 on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list. Vanity Fair likened her to a modern day Jane Austen "who has deftly traversed the topics of love, lost love, marriage, motherhood, betrayal, forgiveness and redemption."

Her debut novel Something Borrowed, was made into a movie starring Kate Hudson and John Krasinski. That novel has sold more than 2.2 million copies. Her latest novel The One and Only is written with intelligence, warmth, and wit. It's a luminous novel about the choices we make in life and love, for better or worse.

Giffin, a Chicago native, graduated summa cum laude from Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law. After law school, she moved to Manhattan and practiced litigation at a large firm for several years while she paid back her school loans, wrote a novel in her very limited spare time, and dreamed of becoming a writer. She quit her job, moved to London to write fulltime and her dream became a reality when Something Borrowed hailed as a "heartbreakingly honest debut" with "dead-on dialogue, real-life complexity and genuine warmth," became a surprise sensation, and Giffin vowed never to practice law again. Her first five novels, all filled with her endearingly flawed characters and emotional complexity, have been translated into twenty-nine languages, with five million copies in print worldwide.

Giffin now resides with her husband and three young children in Atlanta, where she received the Georgia Debut Author of the Year Award.

Premium Reserved Seating: $35 (ticket only) $53 (ticket plus book - hardcover) Reserved Seating: $25 (ticket only) $43 (ticket plus book - hardcover) General Admission: $20 (ticket only) $38 (ticket plus book - hardcover) Educator Discount: $5 off ticket price with valid ID Student Discount: $10 off ticket price with valid ID

June 10 at 7 pm: Daniel James Brown with guest host Lucas Wittmann (Literary editor at Newsweek and The Daily Beast)

Daniel James Brown's book The Boys in the Boat tells the dramatic story of the American rowing team that stunned the world at Hitler's 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Brown follows the exploits of the University of Washington's eight-man crew, whose national dynasty culminated in Olympic gold, transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans.

Brown relays the compelling story of nine working class boys - the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers - who defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolph Hitler. Brown has drawn on the boys' own diaries and journals, their photos and memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, to tell the irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times.

It's the improbable, intimate story of a group of boys from the American west who, in the depths of the great depression, showed the world what true grit really meant. As a writer Brown says that his primary interest is in bringing compelling historical events to life vividly and accurately, which he has masterfully done in this fast paced and emotional snapshot that has spent more than 22 weeks on the Los Angeles Times bestseller list and more than 10 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

Brown is also the author of Under a Flaming Sky: The Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894 and The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride. He resides outside of Seattle, Washington with his wife, two daughters, and an assortment of cats, dogs, chickens, and honeybees. When not writing he is likely to be birding, gardening, fly fishing, reading American history, or chasing bears away from the bee hives.

Guest host Lucas Wittmann is the Literary Editor and Senior Articles Editor at Newsweek and The Daily Beast. He oversees the National Magazine Award-winning Book Beast, a leading online book section. Prior to the Beast, he worked in publishing at W.W. Norton & Company.

Premium Reserved Seating: $35 (ticket only) $46 (ticket plus book - trade paper) Reserved Seating: $25 (ticket only) $36 (ticket plus book - trade paper) General Admission: $20 (ticket only) $31 (ticket plus book - trade paper) Educator Discount: $5 off ticket price with valid ID Student Discount: $10 off ticket price with valid ID

June 26 at 7 pm: Karin Slaughter with guest host Elizabeth Buzzelli (mystery author and creative writing instructor)

Bestselling author Karin Slaughter is one of crime fiction's most celebrated award-winning writers, widely regarded as a literary force who consistently delivers character driven, nail biting suspense novels with psychological intensity.

This summer the critically acclaimed and New York Times bestselling master of suspense delivers her first stand alone novel, Cop Town, a thrilling tale of crime and struggle set in Atlanta in the mid-1970s. Cop Town is an atmospheric nail-biter from the author that the Huffington Post called "an exemplary storyteller" and "one of the great talents of the 21st century."

Slaughter's first novel Blindsighted became an international success, was published in almost 30 languages, and made the Crime Writers' Association's Dagger Award shortlist for "Best Thriller Debut" of 2001. She is the author of the Will Trent series that takes place in Atlanta and features GBI special agent Will Trent, his partner Faith Mitchell, and Angie Polaski. She also pens the Grant County series set in rural Georgia, which stars Dr. Sara Linton, the town's pediatrician and coroner, Jeffrey Tolliver, her wayward ex-husband and chief of police, and Lena Adams, the county's only female detective.

Slaughter is a native Georgian and when not promoting her books domestically and abroad, always returns home to Atlanta, Georgia where she splits her time between the kitchen and the living room. Her books have sold 30 million worldwide to date and she is the only author in the history of the Dutch bestseller list to have eight titles on the list, including the number one spot.

Guest host Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli resides on the shores of a little lake in northwest northern Michigan. With degrees from Macomb County Community College, Oakland University, and the University of Michigan, she now teaches creative writing at Northwestern Michigan College and at writers' conferences around the country. Her novels include: Gift of Evil (Bantam), Dead Dancing Women, Dead Floating Lovers, Dead Sleeping Shaman, and Dead Dogs and Englishmen (Midnight Ink). Her fascination with all things murderous began with a love for puzzles of all sorts, which was handed down to her by a mother who devoured mysteries. Sometimes playful, sometimes deadly serious, her books reflect a wide interest in women's lives and futures.

Premium Reserved Seating: $35 (ticket only) $52 (ticket plus book - hardcover) Reserved Seating: $25 (ticket only) $42 (ticket plus book - hardcover) General Admission: $20 (ticket only) $37 (ticket plus book - hardcover) Educator Discount: $5 off ticket price with valid ID Student Discount: $10 off ticket price with valid ID

July 7 at 7 pm: Diana Gabaldon

The adventure began in 1991 with Diana Gabaldon's first novel, Outlander, which became a wildly popular historical, sci-fi, adventure, romance, and fantasy series. Readers have been hanging on the edge of their seats ever since for the next thrilling installment of Claire and Jamie's story. The seven book series has sold more than 20 million copies and has been published in 26 countries and 23 languages, worldwide.

In the eighth and latest installment, Written in my Own Heart's Blood, Jamie and Claire's story continues as it follows Gabaldon's characters through revolutionary Philadelphia and onto the battlefields, as Jamie makes a dramatic return to Claire's side, a new army sweeps the city, and romance and violence brew. This enthralling adventure carries us through betrayal and redemption, death and danger, and through the perilous waves of a family's loves and loyalties.

In essence Gabaldon describes her series as "Big, Fat, Historical Fiction, Ã la James Clavell and James Michener," that consistently defies being summarized in 25 words or less. describes it as "The smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting 'Scrooge McDuck' comics."

In addition to the Outlander Series Gabaldon has also written several books in a sub-series featuring Lord John Grey in the Lord John Series, a collection of short fiction, and a graphic novel titled The Exile. She is also working on a contemporary mystery series, set in Phoenix. Her book A Breath of Snow and Ashes, won a Quill Award and the Corinne International Book Prize.

A TV series based on the Outlander series is currently filming and will premiere on Starz in 2014. Galbadon has earned three degrees: a B.S. in Zoology, a M.S. in Marine Biology, and a Ph.D in Ecology.

Premium Reserved Seating: $100 (ticket only) $123 (ticket plus book - hardcover) Reserved Seating: $50 (ticket only) $73 (ticket plus book - hardcover) General Admission: $30 (ticket only) $53 (ticket plus book - hardcover) Educator Discount: $5 off ticket price with valid ID Student Discount: $10 off ticket price with valid ID


National Writers Series

(NWS) is entering its fifth year and since our first event in 2009 with Elmore and Peter Leonard, the series has hosted more than 50 conversations with 80 plus nationally recognized authors and guests hosts.

New York Times bestselling author Doug Stanton says of the series, "NWS has changed the way people read and think about writers and writing. Some of the finest authors have appeared on the Opera House stage, visited classrooms throughout Traverse City, and taught MasterClasses to our Front Street Writers students. This is something that isn't happening in many major cities across the country and yet it is happening here in Traverse City, all year round." Stanton notes that that NWS yearly draws thousands of people to downtown shops and restaurants.

In 2009, NWS has awarded nearly $30,000 in scholarships to 12 college-bound students within the 5-county region. In partnership with Traverse City Area Public Schools, they launched Front Street Writers-a tuition-free creative writing intensive for area high school juniors and seniors, now in its second year.

Stanton gives credit for the success of the series to the community, "They come to the events. They buy books and they donate much appreciated time and money. They have encouraged and supported the young aspiring authors who are part of the Front Street Writers program.
up close and personal conversations with America's best writers will continue to impact our community in such a long-lasting and positive manner."

Tickets for all NWS events go on sale to Friends of NWS at noon on February 6, 2014 (box office only). Friends memberships are available for purchase at the City Opera House box office or online at

. Tickets go on sale to the general public on February 13, 2014 for all events except Diana Gabaldon. Tickets for the Diana Gabaldon event go on sale to the general public on May 1, 2014.

Tickets can be purchased at the City Opera House box office, by phone at 231-941-8082 and online at


All NWS events this season will feature live musical performances from 6 - 7PM during which time attendees can enjoy a complimentary dessert from Morsels and a cash bar reception, as well as purchase books and NWS merchandise. The evenings will also include an audience Q&A and most events will include a post-event book signing.