Michigan Notable Author John Smolens to visit Alpena County Library May 2

Michigan Notable Author John Smolens

ALPENA — Michigan Notable Author John Smolens will visit the Alpena County Library on May 2.

Smolens, an author from the Upper Peninsula, will discuss his book, “A Cold, Hard Prayer” at the Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 2. Selected by the Library of Michigan as a 2024 Michigan Notable Book, “A Cold, Hard Prayer” tells the story of a girl of mixed race and a boy with a disabled hand dropped off by an orphan train in 1924 rural Michigan, where a farmer’s attempted rape and subsequent murder forces them to flee; hunted by law enforcement and the reemergent KKK, mutual trust and determination helps the teenage suspects navigate a stark American landscape shaped by prejudice, hypocrisy, and fear.

Books will be available for purchase by Parallel 45 Books and Gifts, and Smolens will sign books following the event.

Smolens has published 12 works of fiction, 11 novels, and a collection of short stories. His most recent novel is “Day of Days”, which has been selected as a Library of Michigan Notable Book for 2022. His novel, “Wolf’s Mouth” was selected as a Library of Michigan Notable Book for 2017. His earlier novels, “Cold”, “Fire Point”, “The Invisible World”, “The Anarchist”, “The Schoolmaster’s Daughter”, and “Quarantine” have been reissued in paperback and as e-books by Michigan State University Press. His work has appeared in publications such as The North American Review, The Southern Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, the Columbia Journal of Literature and Art, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. He was educated at Boston College, the University of New Hampshire, and the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. He has taught at Michigan State University, and Western Michigan University, and is professor emeritus at Northern Michigan University, where he taught in the English Department and served as the director of the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing. In 2010, he was the recipient of the Michigan Author of the Year Award from the Michigan Library Association. He lives in Marquette, Michigan.

The Michigan Notable Books program is designed to promote the reading of Michigan authors and stories by annually selecting 20 titles that best reflect the diverse ethnic, historical, literary, and cultural experiences in the state.

“Michigan truly is a mosaic of inspiration for writers. Each MNB selection offers a unique touchpoint into the rich stories and beautiful landscape of our great state. Everyone will find something of interest that speaks to the voices and experiences of what it means to be a Michigander,” said State Librarian Randy Riley.

The 2024 Michigan Notable Books program and Author Tour are made possible thanks to the generous support of the Library of Michigan, the Library of Michigan Foundation, and Michigan Humanities, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For additional sponsors, please visit the Library of Michigan Foundation’s website at www.LibraryofMichiganFoundation.org.


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