ANNOUNCING: The 2021 Summer Season Lineup from the National Writers Series!

Cherry trees are blossoming, food trucks are opening up shop at Little Fleet, boats are returning to harbors around Grand Traverse Bay and Bell’s Oberon is on tap everywhere.   …and it’s probably done snowing. For now.  

In Northern Michigan, this means one thing: Summer is almost here! And if summer is almost here, it’s time to announce the 2021 NWS Summer Season!

The books we’ll be discussing over the coming months include a genuinely sensational collection of ecological essays, this year’s best beach read, a twisty locked-box thriller, an illuminating conversation on race, an award-winning best-selling debut novel about love, lies, and deception — plus a few more surprises along the way.  

Nearly all of our events are free with a $10 suggested donation, which helps support our Raising Writers programs. Registration is now open at Each event starts on Zoom at 7 p.m.  

Since starting our virtual events in April 2020, we’ve held 25 author discussions that have drawn over 9,000 attendees and helped us find so many new fans around the country (and the world!).   We invite all readers to join us as we host the following conversations:

Our summer season kicks off June 10th with Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of the remarkable Braiding Sweetgrass, a collection of ecological essays that spent nearly all of 2020 on the New York Times bestseller list.  

This special ticketed event is presented in partnership with For Love of Water (FLOW), and we’re also honored to welcome Chairman David M. Arroyo of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians for a blessing at the beginning of our event.  

Our guest host is Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Foundation Professor of Law at Michigan State University College of Law, Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center, and a frequent instructor at the Pre-Law Summer Institute for American Indian students.

Up next on June 24, bestselling author Emily Henry brings a new book that’s perfect for a Traverse City beach day. (Which makes sense: her first book was named Beach Read.)  

She joins the National Writers Series to discuss People We Meet on Vacation, which has been named a Most Anticipated Book of 2021 by Newsweek, Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire, Parade, Good Housekeeping, and more.   This wonderfully bright, breezy book will leave you with the warm, hazy afterglow usually reserved for the best summer vacations. Former NWS guest Jodi Picoult calls the book “the perfect getaway: a heartfelt, funny, tender escape that you wish could last forever.”  

Our guest host for this event is Brittany Cavallaro, New York Times bestselling author of the Charlotte Holmes novels and her newest novel, Muse. She currently teaches creative writing at the Interlochen Arts Academy.

Our next guest brings us a conversation that is altogether entirely necessary right now, especially if you’ve ever heard someone use the phrase “I don’t see race”: Dax Devlon-Ross joins us July 8 to share with us (and the world) his Letters to My White Male Friends.

The book isn’t just for men, but for anyone who wants to find tangible ways to be part of the solution in their workplace, community, family, and, most importantly, in themselves.

This conversation will be guided by Courtney Wiggins (she/they pronouns), who is a community organizer, healer, and founding council member of Northern Michigan E3: Educate, Elevate, and Engage, which is our community partner for this event.

Summer is usually supposed to be relaxed and calming, but we couldn’t resist adding a little extra suspense.   Join us on July 22nd for a conversation with Megan Miranda, the New York Times bestselling author of The Last House Guest, also a Reese Witherspoon Book Club selection.  

This riveting new suspense novel about a mysterious murder in an idyllic and close-knit neighborhood. Pulsating with suspense and with the shocking twists that are Megan Miranda’s trademark, this is a thriller that will keep you turning pages late into the night.  

Our guest host for this event is New York Times bestselling author Riley Sager, creator of novels including The Last Time I Lied, Lock Every Door, and Home Before Dark.

We close out our virtual summer season on August 5th with a visit from Susie Yang.

She’s the author of White Ivy, one of the Best Books of 2020 (USA Today), and longlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize.   This New York Times bestselling debut novel is filled with surprising twists and a nuanced exploration of class and race. White Ivy was also selected as a Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick and listed as one of the Most Anticipated Books by Entertainment Weekly, O Magazine, Time Magazine, Glamour, Vogue, The Washington Post, and Buzzfeed.  

Our guest host for this conversation is award-winning NPR journalist and best-selling author Aarti Shahani, who joined us at the City Opera House in 2019 with her book, Here We Are.

…and speaking of the City Opera House, well, we’re not quite ready to announce our return to live in-person events, but let’s just say that plans are in the works. Stay tuned.

The National Writers Series is a nonprofit organization dedicated to engaging world-renowned authors in meaningful conversations. Since 2010, NWS has hosted nearly 200 authors, including luminaries like Margaret Atwood, Alice Walker, Jodi Picoult, Scott Turow, and Gillian Flynn.  

Throughout the years, over 70,000 people have attended our events, and we’ve helped sell over 18,000 books through local bookstores. Our events are traditionally held at the historic City Opera House in Traverse City, though we have continued the conversation via virtual events on Zoom since April 2020.  

Our author events fuel our Raising Writers programs, which help students express themselves, explore the world through reading, develop their imaginations, and think critically. Learn more at

Our schedule at a glance:

June 10: Robin Wall Kimmerer (ticket required)

June 24: Emily Henry

July 8: Dax Devlon-Ross

July 22: Megan Miranda

August 5: Susan Yang