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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

(IN PERSON AT CITY OPERA HOUSE & LIVESTREAMED) On Wed., July 31, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joins the National ...

Gretchen Whitmer is the governor of Michigan. Known for her bold and plainspoken style, Whitmer is a national voice on the rights of women, voters, and the LGBTQ+ community. She rose to national prominence for her leadership in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, when her efforts to save lives in the state earned her the nickname “That Woman from Michigan” from the former president. Later that year, a domestic terrorist cell began planning to kidnap and kill her, a plot that was foiled by the FBI and state police. Whitmer is a lifelong Michigander who first ran for office at age twenty-nine, has served in both state houses, and has never lost an election. She is the proud mother of two daughters, a huge Detroit Lions fan, and the subject of the song “Big Gretch” by rapper GMac Cash.

Peter Heller

Peter Heller

(IN PERSON AT CITY OPERA HOUSE & LIVESTREAMED) On Sat., Aug. 24, Peter Heller joins the National Writers Series

Peter Heller is a longtime contributor to NPR, and a former contributing editor at Outside Magazine, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Adventure. He is an award winning adventure writer and the author of four books of literary nonfiction. He wrote The Last Ranger, The Guide, The River, Celine, The Painter, and The Dog Stars, which was published in 22 languages. Heller is also the author of four nonfiction books, including Catching the Perfect Wave, which was awarded the National Outdoor Book Award. He holds an MFA in poetry and fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and lives in Denver, Colorado.

Erik Larson

Erik Larson

(IN PERSON AT CITY OPERA HOUSE & LIVESTREAMED) On Thurs., July 11, Erik Larson joins the National Writers Series

Erik Larson is the author of eight books, six of which became New York Times bestsellers. His latest books, The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz and Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, both hit no. 1 on the list soon after launch. His saga of the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, The Devil in the White City, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and won an Edgar Award for fact-crime writing. It lingered on various Times bestseller lists for the better part of a decade and is currently in development at Disney Studios. Erik’s In the Garden of Beasts, about how America’s first ambassador to Nazi Germany and his daughter experienced the rising terror of Hitler’s rule, is currently in development with StudioCanal and Playtone.

Jane Smiley

Jane Smiley

(IN PERSON AT CITY OPERA HOUSE & LIVESTREAMED) On Tues., June 25, Jane Smiley joins the National Writers Series

Jane Smiley is the author of numerous novels, including A Thousand Acres, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, and the Last Hundred Years TrilogySome LuckEarly Warning, and Golden Age. She is the author as well of several works of nonfiction and books for young adults. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she has also received the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature. She lives in Northern California.

Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult

(IN PERSON AT LARS HOCKSTAD & LIVESTREAMED) On Tues., Sept. 10, Jodi Picoult joins the National Writers Series

Jodi Picoult is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 28 novels, including Mad HoneyWish You Were HereThe Book of Two WaysA Spark of LightSmall Great ThingsLeaving TimeThe StorytellerLone WolfSing You HomeHouse RulesHandle with CareChange of Heart, and My Sister’s Keeper, and, with daughter Samantha van Leer, two young adult novels, Between the Lines and Off the Page. Picoult’s books have been translated into thirty-four languages in thirty-five countries. Four novels – The Pact, Plain Truth, The Tenth Circle, and Salem Falls – have been made into television movies. Picoult lives in New Hampshire with her husband. They have three children.

Amy Tan

Amy Tan

(IN PERSON AT CITY OPERA HOUSE & LIVESTREAMED) On Tues. May 14, Amy Tan joins the National Writers Series

 

Born in the U.S. in 1952 to immigrant parents from China, Amy Tan grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area.  She attended five colleges: Linfield College, San Jose City College, San Jose State University, University of California at Santa Cruz, and University of California at Berkeley.

In 1987, Amy went to China for the first time, accompanied by her mother. When she returned home, she learned that she had received several offers based on her submission of three short stories. The resulting book of connected stories,The Joy Luck Club, was hailed as a novel and became a surprise bestseller, spending over forty weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List.

Amy has lectured internationally at universities, including Stanford, Oxford, Jagellonium, and Georgetown both in Washington, DC and Doha, Qatar. She did a TED talk on creativity and spoke at the White House, appeared on the popular NPR program Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me, as well as on Sesame Street.and in the documentary Boomers. The National Endowment for the Arts chose The Joy Luck Club for its inaugural Big Read program in 2007. Read her full bio here.