National Writers Series and Beyond – A Book Lover’s Trip Worth Taking

There’s good reason why Traverse City was recently ranked as a top city for book lovers. Not only does this lakeshore city hum a little literary tune all its own, but it also falls in line with a mighty band of independent booksellers strung in solidarity along Michigan’s stunning northern shores.

These indies, each offering their respective knowledge and charms, compliment rather than compete through their pure, unmitigated passion for the literary arts. Such cumulative verve for the book is palpable, and has many readers road-tripping North for more than cherry pie.

One of the key draws of the much-talked-about Traverse City lit scene, however, is undoubtedly the National Writers Series. “Some observers believe that Traverse City’s growing reputation as a city of book lovers can also be attributed to the National Writers Series,” asserts Publisher’s Weekly in Traverse City is for Book Lovers. Brainchild of TC native and author Doug Stanton, the National Writers Series was founded in 2009 and continues to flourish with each new season.

The Detroit News recently featured the man behind the NWS magic, noting Stanton’s dedication not only to the art of writing, but to its future voices as well. “You don’t often get a chance to water your own roots, but that’s what he’s doing with every session,” states the Detroit News. “The events raise money for scholarships and the Front Street Writers Program, a workshop for talented high school students.”

The NWS brings at least one celebrity author each month to Traverse City for a reading and discussion of their work. The ticketed event is usually held in TC’s 19th-century opera house. This year’s lineup includes authors Jodi Picoult, Anna Quindlen, and Geraldine Brooks among others. Also, the incredibly popular Harvard professor Michael Sandel will appear to discuss What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets.

For book lovers like myself who live in the Detroit metro area, Traverse City can feel like a world away. However, with the flavorful Writers Series and an incredible string of informed independents both in and outside the city, I can assure you that the drive Up North is definitely a trip worth taking.

*Support your local bookstores, libraries, and universities. It matters.

-Post by Megan Shaffer

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