Our Story

Rene Descartes once said, “The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.”

The National Writers Series began with a conversation about books between the three co-founders:  New York Times bestselling author Doug Stanton, journalist Anne Stanton, and attorney Grant Parsons. They sat around the kitchen table wondering how they could not only bring high-caliber authors to northern Michigan, but also engage them with young readers and writers.

Doug knew the ins and outs of the book tour circuit, and Anne organized the debut events in 2009. Grant envisioned the scholarship program, which was executed the next year. The program blossomed from there, with hundreds of people joining the conversation at the beautiful City Opera House in downtown Traverse City. 

Nearly 9,000 people attend our author events each year, and tens of thousands more listen to the conversations on subsequent broadcasts aired on NPR affiliates, northern Michigan television stations, YouTube, and our podcast. Our monthly author events have earned Traverse City the moniker of Michigan’s “Book City,” and over the past decade, we’ve become an integral part of the region’s cultural vibe and downtown economy. 

As the author events flourished, so did our Raising Writers programs. From scholarships to creative writing classes to the beloved Battle of the Books, the National Writers Series supports dozens of opportunities for kids to embrace their love of reading and writing. Learn more about how we’re raising writers here.

Today, the National Writers Series continues both missions, serving an ever-widening base of book lovers, readers, and writers in Michigan and beyond. Learn how you can keep the conversation going for years to come.