national writers series

Anchee Min

May 30, 2014
Allen Kent

On this program from the National Writers Series, memoirist Anchee Min talks about growing up in Shanghai during Mao's communist cultural revolution. Anchee Min worked in a labor camp as a teenager, and later was recruited as an actress at Madame Mao’s Shanghai Film Studio. In 1984 she moved to the United States, knowing no English. Eight years later she wrote her memoir "Red Azalea." Min speaks with guest host Ron Hogan, creator of the literary website

Steve Luxenberg

May 19, 2014
Alan Newton

On this National Writers Series program, Steve Luxenberg talks about the family secret that inspired his book "Annie's Ghosts." Luxenberg has worked for more than 30 years as a newspaper editor and reporter and is currently an associate editor at the Washington Post. "Annie's Ghosts" was named to The Washington Post’s Best Books list of 2009. It was also honored as a Michigan Notable Book for 2010 by the Library of Michigan.  Steve Luxenberg spoke with guest host Mardi Link, who recently sold the movie rights to her own memoir "Bootstrapper."

National Writers Series - George Packer

Apr 3, 2014
Allen Kent

George Packer is a journalist, novelist, and playwright. His new book, "The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America," won the 2013 National Book Award for nonfiction. Packer is a staff writer for the New Yorker and has contributed numerous articles on foreign affairs, American politics, and literature to many publications. He spoke at the National Writers Series with his friend Benjamin Busch, author of the memoir "Dust to Dust."

"Annie's Ghosts" - A Family Secret

Apr 3, 2014

Throughout Steve Luxenberg’s life, his mother had always insisted she was an only child. So, he was puzzled when, late in his mother’s life, he heard that she had had a sister, Annie. Luxenberg, an investigative reporter for the Washington Post, looked into the story and found that Annie had spent almost her entire adult life in a mental institution. That investigation turned into a book “Annie’s Ghosts.” It’s this year’s Great Michigan Read. Luxenberg will make several appearances in Northern Michigan next week. He said he learned about Annie’s existence by accident. 

Kelly Corrigan

Mar 20, 2014
Allen Kent

Kelly Corrigan is the author of three memoirs about mothers, fathers, children, and the journey to fully appreciate them. Corrigan is also a YouTube sensation, a contributor to "O: The Oprah Magazine," and a cancer survivor. Her latest book is "Glitter and Glue." Corrigan spoke with Rich Fahle, founder of

The National Writers Series has announced its event lineup for the 2014 Winter, Spring and Summer seasons at the City Opera House in Traverse City. Here's the schedule: 

February 27 - Kelly Corrigan, March 17 - George Packer, April 8 - Steve Luxenberg, April 24 - Anchee Min, May 29 - Emily Griffin, June 10 - Daniel James Brown, June 26 - Karin Slaughter, July 7 - Diana Gabaldon

Author Benjamin Busch On Al Qaeda's Rebound

Jan 13, 2014
Courtesy photo

Benjamin Busch is a writer, actor and Iraq war veteran. His photography has been displayed at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City and he has been a featured author at the Traverse City National Writers Series. Today Busch joins other Iraq war veterans on The Takeaway to reflect on Al Qaeda's rebound. The show starts at 2:00pm on IPR News Radio.

Alan Newton

Sara Paretsky is the author of 16 crime novels featuring her star protagonist, female private eye V.I. Warshawski. In her latest book, "Critical Mass," V.I. uncovers secrets buried in the rubble of World War II. Paretsky spoke with Nancy Baker, who serves as program director of Evanston Scholars in Evanston, Illinois.

Alan Newton

Nikki Giovanni is a the author of many collections of poetry, as well as works of nonfiction and children's literature. Giovanni's creative output spans more than 40 years and expresses her strong racial pride and respect for family. Her latest book, "Chasing Utopia," is a highly personal combination of poetry and memoir. Our host today is books editor at O Magazine, Leigh Haber.


National Writers Series

Journalist David Finkel talks about war and the ongoing effect it has on those who fight. Finkel is a staff writer at the Washington Post and the author of two books about the war in Iraq, from the point of view of those who fought in it. "The Good Soldiers" follows the lives of soldiers on the front lines in Baghdad. In his latest book, "Thank You For Your Service," Finkel revisits these solders' lives after coming home.

Jamie Ford is the author of two novels, "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet," and his latest, "Songs of Willow Frost." Both take place in Seattle, where Ford grew up. His books are informed by the city's history, and also his feelings of melancholy toward his childhood home. On this program for the National Writers Series, Jamie Fordtalks with host Rich Fahle about why he's so attached to telling stories from this particular place.

Michael Paterniti says the greatest storyteller he ever met is a cheese maker in the small Spanish village of Guzman. Paterniti's latest book is called The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and World's Greatest Piece of Cheese. For a previous book, Paterniti ended up on a cross-country road trip with Albert Einstein's brain in the trunk of the car. His literary non-fiction has appeared in magazines such as Outside, Rolling Stone, and Esquire. He spoke with Doug Stanton at the Traverse City Opera House.

Benjamin Percy’s critically acclaimed novel "Red Moon" began as a 6th grade report on werewolves.

"You know, I received a B-minus on this paper,” he told a crowd at the City Opera House in Traverse City. “Which is one of the many reasons it feels so good to say--you know, to hold this book in my hands and say, 'In your face, Mrs. Ziegenhagen!’" 

Temple Grandin says too many kids with autism are coddled, that teachers and parents sometimes don't realize what their kids are capable of.

"Half the people in Silicon Valley have got some degree of Asperger's," she says.

In this episode from the Traverse City National Writers Series: Temple Grandin talks about growing up in the 1950s with autism, and how she gained a foothold in a traditionally male field. She has revolutionized the slaughterhouse industry.

She's also a prolific writer. Her most recent book is "The Autistic Brain."

Jason Matthews worked as an intelligence officer in the CIA for 33 years. Now retired, he's the author of a novel called "Red Sparrow," a fast paced spy thriller that draws on his life with the agency. Matthews was a guest this May at the National Writers Series in downtown Traverse City. NWS founder and New York Times bestseller Doug Stanton sat down with Matthews to talk about his debut novel and the exciting life of intrigue that led up to it.

Nathaniel Philbrick is a renowned scholar and a champion sailor who has a passion for history and the open water. He's the bestselling author of books such as "In the Heart of the Sea" and "Mayflower." Philbrick was a guest this May at the National Writers Series in downtown Traverse City. He sat down with Rich Fahle to talk about his latest book "Bunker Hill," about the Boston battle that ignited the American revolution.

Nathaniel Philbrick is a renowned scholar and a champion sailor who has a passion for history and the open water. He's the bestselling author of books such as "In the Heart of the Sea" and "Mayflower." Philbrick was a guest this May at the National Writers Series in downtown Traverse City. He sat down with Rich Fahle to talk about his latest book "Bunker Hill," about the Boston battle that ignited the American revolution.

Gillian Flynn started as a film critic at the age of 7 when her father showed her movies like Alien and Psycho. As an adult, and after writing for 10 years as a television critic, she was laid off. She began a new career writing her first novel in 2007 titled Sharp Objects. Flynn was a guest this month at the National Writers Series in downtown Traverse City. She sat down with host Doug Stanton to talk about her new book Gone Girl

The Story Of An Escape From North Korea

Apr 9, 2013

Shin Dong-Hyuk escaped from a North Korean labor camp. A camp where he expected to die young. Blain Harden tells the story about Shin’s escape in his most recent book, Escape from Camp 14. He was the guest earlier this month at the National Writers Series in downtown Traverse City. He spoke with Jack Segal, a former U.S. Department of State official. 

Today on the National Writers Series, host Doug Stanton sits down with Chip Johannessen. Johannessen is the executive producer and writer of Showtime’s award-winning television show “Homeland”. And this past year, “Homeland” made television history when it did something no other show has done in 25 years: it won four out of five of the major drama awards at the Emmys.

Buzz Bissinger’s bestseller Friday Night Lights became a hit TV series. Now he has a new book. It’s called Father’s Day. It tells the true story of the author’s twin sons – one who earned his Master’s Degree – the other who struggles with unremitting learning disabilities to this day. Buzz Bissinger is visiting Traverse City for the National Writers Series and he’ll be our guest on Points North.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Jan 8, 2013

Today on the National Writers Series, columnist and author Jack Segal sits down with Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Ali is an admired activist and political figure whom, in 2005, was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the World.

Michael Connelly

Jan 7, 2013

Today on the National Writers Series, host Bryan Gruley talks with Michael Connelly, a #1 New York Times Best-Selling Author. Connelly has sold over 45 million copies of his novels. He can be seen playing himself on the ABC television show Castle.