Literature can be a window into the history and culture of the place where it is written. Current State talks to freelance journalist Anna Clark about her new book exploring Michigan’s “literary luminaries.”

We writers tend to take short stories for granted. They are practice. They are something students do in a class. They are throwaway ideas for a collection or a blogsite. Most recently, publishers have been asking authors to create short stories as a means for introducing a novel to an audience, sort of an awkward attempt at a prequel. Check out this free short story, now come back and buy the book!

Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos.

John Hermann. A few of those names are more familiar than the last one, but John T. Hermann was indeed a member of the influential “lost generation” of writers.  And the author, who wrote a book that was banned in 1926, grew up in Lansing.

Brittany Gibbons is a writer and performer who has made a name for herself in the arena of positive self image, specifically regarding women considered to be plus-sized. Tonight, she’ll appear at the Schuler book store in the Eastwood Towne Center to talk about her book, “Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love and Being Comfortable in Your Skin…Every Inch of It.”

Courtesy Michigan Radio

The 28th Rally of Writers is Saturday in Lansing. The annual one-day conference will bring together leading Michigan writers like “Bootstrapper” author Mardi Jo Link, author and WKAR book reviewer Lev Raphael and others with audiences who love reading and aspire to write themselves. The keynote speaker will be Jack Lessenberry, whose essays on Michigan politics are seen in publications across the state and heard on our Michigan Public Radio Network sister station in Ann Arbor, Michigan Radio.

An award-winning author of books for young readers is coming to East Lansing this week. Jacqueline Woodson's 30 books for young adults, middle graders and children have won a multitude of awards including a National Book Award in 2014 for “Brown Girl Dreaming”. The MSU Department of Teacher Education is bringing her in for a talk tonight.

Life is a wondrous bit of magical happenstance. Sadly, we usually forget that fact in the mundanity of it. We go from day to day lost in worries about jobs, family, and the future. Hours and days slip by one after another with little thought or memory attached to them.

East Lansing novelist Susan Froetschel has published “Allure of Deceit”, a tale that takes place in Afghanistan and East Lansing. It’s the sequel to her well-received “Fear of Beauty”.

The novel “Station Eleven” is about a post-apocalyptic world set largely in Michigan. It's the story of a flu epidemic that wipes out almost all of the earth’s human population. The pre-pandemic story is set in Toronto and other places around the world. Michigan, mostly along the Lake Michigan shoreline, is where the story of survivors takes place.

Tonight, an Audie-Award winning audiobook reader will visit Okemos to talk about his craft. George Guidall has read the audiobook versions of titles like John Irving’s “A Widow for One Year” and Wally Lamb’s “I Know This Much Is True”. He’ll be at the Okemos Public Library at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Guidall has narrated 1,200 unabridged books.

Paris in the 1920's and 1930's is the stuff of literary legend. It is hard for book lovers not to get lost in the mythology of it, imagining Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald discussing books over drinks at a club, while couples dance to the greatest jazz music. Francine Prose is one such author captivated by this period and in her new book “Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932,” she takes us through the fall of this great city, from its decadent and free heyday to its occupation under Nazi Germany. The book makes you feel like you are breathing the air of that city, walking those same rain-swept and romantic streets.

Rafeeq McGiveron is not just a counselor at Lansing Community College, he is also the author of new book about a murder set on the MSU campus titled "Student Body."

Lone shipwreck survivor shares his story

May 21, 2014

On November 29, 1966, 28 men lost their lives on Lake Huron when the freighter, the SS Daniel J. Morrell, broke apart in a storm. One man survived, and he joins us on Current State today.

Dennis Hale is in Lansing to talk about his book, “Shipwrecked: Reflections of the Sole Survivor.”

Hale says he never questioned the ship's seaworthiness before what was to be the last voyage of the season that  year. 

Visiting novelist Chris Moore finds humor in the dark

May 1, 2014
Courtesy -

Most people don't travel to Venice and think of sea monsters, but most people, aren't novelist Christopher Moore. Set against the backdrop of Venice,  Moore’s latest novel blends together Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" and "Othello" with Poe’s "The Cask of Amontillado." Throw in a people eating sea monster, humor and some bawdy prose and you have Moore’s "The Serpent of Venice".

Courtesy of Steve Hamilton

On Saturday, the Library of Michigan Foundation will hold its annual Night for Notables event, honoring the authors of books that were named Michigan Notable Books for 2014. The keynote speaker at tomorrow’s event is Steve Hamilton.  His book “Misery Bay” was a Michigan Notable Book for 2012.