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Environmental Writer Dave Dempsey Wins 2009 Michigan Author Award

Contact: Sarah Lapshan (517) 241-1736

Aug. 24, 2009

The Michigan Center for the Book today announced Dave Dempsey - author of award-winning books on conservation and environmental issues critical to Michigan - as the winner of the 2009 Michigan Author Award. Sponsored jointly by the Michigan Center for the Book (a program of the Library of Michigan), Sleeping Bear Press and the Michigan Library Association, this annual award honors a Michigan writer for his or her contributions to literature based on an outstanding published body of work.

This year's award will be presented this fall at the Michigan Library Association's "Ready Set Go!" conference at the Lansing Center and Radisson Hotel in Lansing. Tickets ($25) are available to hear Dave Dempsey speak at the award-presentation luncheon on Friday, Nov. 6. For more information and to access the conference registration, visit the Michigan Library Association Web site at

"It's both humbling and exciting to receive this award, since Michigan is my home and the source of my writing inspiration. Its land, water, wildlife and people are an amazing tableau," said Dempsey. "In both the writing I've done and the writing I hope to do, I want to tell stories about people who made a difference and the places that shaped them. The Library of Michigan is a remarkable public asset that has made such research possible."

For 25 years Dempsey's writings have helped shape conservation and Great Lakes policy, issues that are an integral part of Michigan's history and character as a state. His newest book is Great Lakes for Sale: From Whitecaps to Bottlecaps. This book poses - and answers - important questions about the export and diversion of Great Lakes water.

He has co-authored The Waters of Michigan, a collection of stewardship essays combined with photographs of David Lubbers that presents a truly unique view and understanding of the waters of Michigan. His other titles include: Ruins and Recovery: Michigan's Rise as a Conservation Leader, which is an environmental history of Michigan since its statehood in 1837; a biography of former governor and environmental champion William Milliken, William G. Milliken: Michigan's Passionate Moderate, which was named a 2007 Michigan Notable Book; and On the Brink: the Great Lakes in the 21st Century, a history of and a look forward to the state of the world's largest freshwater ecosystem, which was a 2005 Michigan Notable Book winner.

"Dave Dempsey's books have illustrated the heart of Michigan, our great lakes," said Karren Reish, Michigan Center for the Book coordinator. "In paying tribute to this gifted author, we are also able to spotlight the conservation and environmental issues that are his passion."

Dempsey has been active in environmental matters since 1982, serving as an advisor to Gov. James Blanchard, working as the program director of Clean Water Action, and is currently serving as senior policy director of the Michigan Environmental Council. He also served under President Clinton on the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

Previous winners of the Michigan Author Award include Tom Stanton (2008), Sarah Stewart (2007), Steve Hamilton (2006), Christopher Paul Curtis (2005), Patricia Polacco (2004), Diane Wakoski (2003), Nicholas Delbanco (2002), Thomas Lynch (2001), Janie Lynn Panagopoulos (2000), Jerry Dennis (1999), Gloria Whelan (1998), Loren Estleman (1997), Elmore Leonard (1996), Janet Kauffman (1995), Nancy Willard (1994), Charles Baxter (1993) and Dan Gerber (1992).

The Michigan Center for the Book, a program of the Library of Michigan and the center's affiliates, aims to promote an awareness of books, reading, literacy, authors and Michigan's rich literary heritage. New affiliates are welcome. For more information about the Michigan Center for the Book and its programs, visit

The Library of Michigan is part of the Department of History, Arts and Libraries (HAL). Dedicated to enriching quality of life and strengthening the economy by providing access to information, preserving and promoting Michigan's heritage and fostering cultural creativity, the department also includes the Mackinac Island State Park Commission, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Michigan Historical Center.

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