Alpena Draws High-Caliber Authors to Fall Event
It’s been a year in the making, but the Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library is ready once again to host “Authors in the Fall,” this year welcoming a children’s author, avid outdoorsman, Pulitzer Prize winner and naturalist.
This event, which received a Michigan Humanities Council major grant, will draw big-name authors to the city of Alpena with the goal of connecting residents of rural, northeast Michigan to authors whose books explore who we are as Americans, Michiganians and residents of a Great Lake state (as stated in their grant application).
“The library has had authors here in the fall for a long time,” Eric Magness-Eubank said, library director and project director for “Authors in the Fall.” “What we’ve started doing was scaling up the project and trying to get authors here with a wider appeal. In the past, we’ve had some very good figures here but sometimes they’re lesser-known to the general audience.”
Past events have welcomed Poet Laureate Billy Collins and “Three Cups of Tea” author Greg Moretenson. Authors are selected with variety in mind, Magness-Eubank explained, so there is an author who will appeal to everyone.
The authors will present on four dates, open to the public, between Sept. 29 and Oct. 20. Each presentation will include a general discussion and question-and-answer session.
“We’ll conclude (each presentation) with a reception for the author and general public, put on by the (Friends of the Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library),” Magness-Eubank said. “They do a wonderful job on these and they’re great fun. The author gets a chance to mingle with the general public and sign books and sell books. That’s always a highlight of the event.”
Presentation Schedule and Authors
The first presentation for “Authors in the Fall” was held Sept. 29, featuring Jeff “Doc” Fletcher, author of "Weekend Canoeing in Michigan." Fletcher is an avid outdoorsman who writes about his canoeing and kayaking adventures in the Great Lakes state.
On Oct. 6, children’s and young adult author Margaret Wiley will be on hand to discuss her “Clever Beatrice” series, which explores the world of a spunky heroine from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Wiley has received the Charlotte Zolotow Award and her books have appeared on the American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults List. In addition to her presentation, Wiley will visit a local school.
On Oct. 13, well-known author and journalist Bob Woodward will discuss his book, “All the President’s Men,” and his career as an author. Woodward is best known for his role in uncovering the Watergate scandal with Carl Bernstein. He has won nearly every American journalism award, including the Pulitzer Prize and Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency in 2003.
On Oct. 20, Jerry Dennis will conclude the author series with a reading and discussion from his new book, “The Windward Shore: A Winter on the Great Lakes.” He will also discuss his book, “The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas,” which explores the state in historical, environmental, geological and personal perspectives. Dennis has written 10 books about Michigan and nature, and his essays and stories have appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Smithsonian, Audubon and National Geographic Traveler. He was also named the Michigan Author of the Year by the Michigan Library Association in 1999.
With exception to Woodward’s lecture, all events will be held at the library free of charge. Woodward’s lecture will be held at the Alpena High School Auditorium and ticket prices range from $10-20. Tickets are on sale now at www.alpenalibrary.org. All four presentations will begin at 7 p.m.
“We expect to sell (Woodward’s presentation) out and have anywhere from 50 to 200 (attendees) for the other authors,” Magness-Eubank said. “There’s been a lot of enthusiasm surrounding these visits and we expect this to be something that has a lot of community involvement.”
In addition to outside organizations hosting programming, the library will be showing films complimenting Woodward’s visit, including “Frost/Nixon.”
“Our overall goal is to generate as much enthusiasm and involvement in the community, library and authors,” Magness-Eubank said. “In addition to visits, we try to partner with other organizations to do activities.”
Alpena Community College has signed on to host a showing of “All the President’s Men,” and lead a panel discussion by its political science department on the importance of Woodward’s investigative reporting of Watergate. Bill Speer, editor of The Alpena News, has been making presentations to community groups about Watergate's impact on the press. In addition, the Association of Lifelong Learners is hosting several lectures around the city.
For more information on “Authors in the Fall” and how to attend, please contact the Alpena County George N. Fletcher Library at (989) 356-6188.
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