About the Book & Author

Mary Doria Russell

Mary Doria Russell


Widely praised for meticulous research, fine prose, and the compelling narrative drive of her stories, Mary Doria Russell is the award-winning author of seven bestselling novels, including the science fiction classics The Sparrow and Children of God; the World War II thriller, A Thread of Grace; and a political romance set in 1921 Cairo called Dreamers of the Day. With her novels Doc and Epitaph, Russell has redefined two towering figures of the American West: the lawman Wyatt Earp and the dental surgeon Doc Holliday.

“I’m so honored Michigan Humanities chose ‛The Women of the Copper Country’ for the 2021-2022 Great Michigan Read,” said author Mary Doria Russell, who spent time in Michigan’s Keewenaw Peninsula walking through the streets of Calumet, touring the mines, and visiting local museums as she prepared to write her fictionalized account of the real-life Big Annie. “The copper strike itself has been studied and written about by historians and legal experts, but those accounts are not meant to engage the reader’s emotions. That was my job—to combine imagination and empathy with research.”

She holds a Ph.D. in biological anthropology from the University of Michigan and taught anatomy at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dentistry. She lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

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Author Tour Events
  • The 2021-22 author tour is complete. 

Michigan Humanities’ Great Michigan Read creates a statewide discussion around a Michigan themed book. Through partnerships with libraries, schools, book clubs, and a wide range of other non-profit organizations, the Great Michigan Read facilitates statewide reading and programs to bridge communities around a common conversation.


If you have questions or would like to discuss a potential project, please contact Ashley Ross at aross@mihumanities.org.

Apply to be a Partner

Schools, libraries, independent book clubs, colleges, universities, arts and cultural institutions, and a range of other nonprofits and organizations are invited to become Great Michigan Read partners.

Registering as a Great Michigan Read partner can be completed using these steps:

    1. Login or create a new user account on the Michigan Humanities grant and program portal, located here
    2. Visit the Great Michigan Read Partner Registration Form, and fill out the required details.
    3. You will receive an automated “registration received” email after you have submitted the form.

In addition to free books, Great Michigan Read partners may also receive complementary readers’ guides, teachers’ guides, bookmarks, and other materials.

Funding for Partners

Great Michigan Read Action Grants of up to $750 are available to support Great Michigan Read programming and are awarded to registered Great Michigan Read partners. Limited funding remains. To be eligible, projects must be completed by October 31, 2022.


  • Materials: The purchase/rental of supplementary resources that complement the Great Michigan Read title, including books, films, traveling exhibits, and other educational opportunities.
  • Guest speakers and venue rental: Honoraria and/or travel expenses for guest speakers, performers, and/or workshop leaders for Great Michigan Read events, discussions, and lectures. 
  • Food, transportation, and promotional expenses: Expenses in these categories may be included, but should not be the primary emphasis of your Great Michigan Read Action Grant application.

Great Michigan Read Sponsors

The 2021-22 Great Michigan Read is presented by Michigan Humanities and supported by national, statewide, and local partners, including: