March 10, 2021

  The National Writers Series Welcomes
Ellen Airgood, Author of Tin Camp Road
on Thursday, March 24th
The National Writers Series is excited to welcome Michigan author Ellen Airgood to the City Opera House stage on Thursday, March 24th for a conversation about her novel Tin Camp Road.

Airgood currently resides in the Upper Peninsula but grew up on a farm in Michigan’s thumb, where her favorite things were reading, riding horses, and writing stories. Homesick for the farm life, she nearly left the University of Michigan after her first year, but then returned, earning a Bachelor’s in Science from the School of Natural Resources and Environment.

Since then, she has been an air quality sleuth, a timber cruiser, and has co-managed a diner in Grand Marais, MI with her husband Rick, where she serves multiple roles as a waitress, pastry chef, and bouncer.

She has published three previous novels with Penguin Books: South of Superior (a Michigan Notable Book Award winner) and the acclaimed books for middle-grade readers, Prairie Evers and The Education of Ivy Blake.

Her more recent novel, Tin Camp Road, was honored with both the UP Notable Book Award and Michigan Notable Book Award.

  The Book

Set against the wide-open beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, this wise, big-hearted novel follows a young single mother and her ten-year-old daughter as they stand up to the trials of rural poverty and find the community they need in order to survive.

Laurel Hill and her precocious daughter Skye have always been each other’s everything. The pair live on Lake Superior, where they eke out a living with Laurel’s patchwork of jobs. One otherwise normal afternoon, their landlord decides to evict them in favor of a more profitable summer rental, and, without any warning, they are pushed farther to the margins. 

What follows is an uplifting, profoundly moving story about a mother and daughter fighting for each other, against all odds, as they learn to build community and foster the resilience that will keep them alive.

“Moving and brave.” ~People magazine

“If you’ve been to the U.P., you will recognize it in this loving portrayal; if you haven’t, you will immediately want to visit..” ~The Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“An affecting portrait of the region and its residents, filled with love and pride.” ~Kirkus Reviews

“A heartfelt story of a tourist town’s permanent residents.” ~Publishers Weekly

  Event Details

Ellen Airgood joins the National Writers Series live at the City Opera House on March 24th at 7 p.m. ET. In-Person tickets can be purchased through the City Opera House

This event will also be live-streamed for those who prefer to join from home; tickets for the livestream are available at the National Writers Series website.

Our Raising Writers program has also arranged for Ellen to lead a free in-person Masterclass for high school students in the Traverse City area. Details on the class, titled “An Inside Look at the Writing Life,” are here.

We’ll also be awarding our annual Bill Montgomery Literary Service Award this evening! Details on this award and its recipient to follow.

  Guest Host

Our guest host for this event will be Susan Odgers. A two-time Ragdale Fellow, Susan’s column “Adapted in TC” has appeared in the Traverse City Record-Eagle for the past fourteen years. She’s a recipient of the Sara Hardy Humanitarian of the Year award, and in 2021, Susan was recognized as one of the Influential Women of Northern Michigan.

  Event Sponsors

Our sponsors for this event are Michigan Technical College, Michigan Writers and the Bubbling Babes Book Club, In Memory of Jeanne Snow. Our Masterclass sponsor is the Reflect Bistro at Cambria Hotel.
About the National Writers Series
The National Writers Series is a nonprofit organization dedicated to engaging world-renowned authors in meaningful conversations. Founded in 2010 by reporter Anne Stanton, New York Times bestselling author Doug Stanton, and attorney Grant Parsons, NWS has hosted 200 authors including luminaries like Margaret Atwood, Tom Brokaw, Alice Walker, Scott Turow, and Gillian Flynn.

Over 70,000 people have attended our events throughout the years, and we’ve helped sell over 20,000 books through local bookstores. Our live events take place at the historic City Opera House in Traverse City, while our virtual events are available around the world via Zoom or YouTube live-streaming.

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 Winter/Spring 2022 event lineup features the following amazing writers:

March 13: Jack Cheng and our Battle of the Books Championship Event (In-Person)
March 24: Ellen Airgood (In-Person)
April 7: Brad Meltzer (Virtual)
April 19: Joy Harjo, presented thanks to an NEA Big Read Grant secured by the Traverse Area District Library, the Dennos Museum Center, and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians. The NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. If you would like to participate in group discussions and other NEA Big Read events prior to Ms. Harjo’s visit, you can find them on (Virtual)
May 5: George Saunders (Virtual)
May 10: Paul Holes (In-Person)