Written in the Mitten

WRITER | PAM TOIGO

There is no disputing the fact that the state of Michigan is full of talent.  From famous actors to musicians to sports figures, Michigan is no stranger to fame. But what about the authors from our great state? If you look up “authors from Michigan” online, the list is a mile long.  Some are well known and familiar, while others are not.  But whether the story or book is about Michigan, set in Michigan, or just written by an author from Michigan, a good read from a Michigan author is easy to find.

Here’s a brief look at some of the more notable Michigan authors worth checking out:

Ernest Hemingway
Although Hemingway was not truly “from” Michigan, most people know about the Ernest Hemingway Cottage, also known as Windemere, on Walloon Lake just south of Petoskey.  Windemere was the boyhood summer home of Hemingway.  He spent every summer at the cottage on Walloon Lake until the age of 21, where he developed an interest in outdoor activities like hunting and fishing, which played an important role in his fiction.   A gorgeous backdrop for any writings, Hemingway’s time in northern Michigan inspired many of his short stories, including The Three Day Blow, The End of Something, and The Big Two-Hearted River. The cottage itself appears in his works, The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife, Ten Indians, The Indians Moved Away, The Last Good Country, and Wedding Day.  The home was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1968.  Although the cottage is closed to the public today, a visit to the Walloon Lake area will surely inspire you to pick up one of his famous works.

L. Herron
Born in central Tennessee, Ron Herron’s parents moved north to Michigan while he was still an infant.  He grew up in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale and received his undergraduate degree from Wayne State University and an MBA from Michigan State University.  He still resides in Michigan with his wife.  Herron has won several awards for his writing. His novel Reichold Street was a 2012 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Winner that Kirkus Reviews called “Skillfully written and emotionally charged.”  His 2013 fantasy collection Zebulon was a Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner. Among his other books are two powerful thriller sequels: One Way Street and Street Light. The online review magazine Shelf Unbound named Street Light one of its “100 Notable Books for 2015.” His novel Blood Lake, a modern horror/thriller, was named a 2016 Bronze Medal Winner by Readers’ Favorite. It was also a Foreword INDIE 2016 Book-of-the-Year Finalist and selected by Shelf Unbound as one of its “100 Notable Books for 2016.”  If you like thrillers, check out the works of R. L. Herron and look for his newest work to hit the shelves soon.

Terry McMillan
McMillan was born and raised in Port Huron and discovered her love of literature while shelving books at the local library. She burst onto the literary scene in 1987 with her wildly acclaimed New York Times bestseller Mama, which won the Doubleday New Voices in Fiction award in 1986 and an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation in 1987. Terry’s signature humor, wisdom, and warmth made Waiting to Exhale, A Day Late and a Dollar Short, The Interruption of Everything, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Getting Happy, Disappearing Acts, and Who Asked You?  All are New York Times bestsellers. Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back were made into award-winning major motion pictures that proved huge at the box office, and Disappearing Acts and A Day Late and A Dollar Short were adapted into successful made-for-TV movies. McMillan was awarded an Essence Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. Beloved by her fans, her books have sold millions of copies worldwide. With a new book in the works, McMillan is always worth checking out.

Chris Van Allsburg
Children’s author of the now-famous book and holiday movie Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg was born and raised in East Grand Rapids, where he attended middle school and high school. He attended the College of Architecture and Design at the University of Michigan, which at that time included the art school.  He has won two Caldecott Medals for U.S. picture book illustration for Jumanji, which he also wrote, and The Polar Express. These two works were later adapted as successful motion pictures. He was a Caldecott runner-up in 1980 for The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. For his contribution as a children’s illustrator, he was 1986 U.S. nominee for the biennial international Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest international recognition for creators of children’s books.