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2019 Michigan Notable Book Author Biographies

Saladin Ahmed, Abbott, Boom Studios

Saladin Ahmed was born in Detroit and raised in a working-class, Arab American enclave in Dearborn, Michigan. His short stories have been nominated for the Nebula and Campbell awards, and have appeared in Year’s Best Fantasy and numerous magazines, anthologies, and podcasts, as well as being translated into five foreign languages. Throne of the Crescent Moon won a Locus Award for Best First Novel and was a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and David Gemmell Morningstar awards.  Ahmed lives near Detroit with his wife and twin children.

Barbara J. Barton, Manoomin: The Story of Wild Rice in Michigan, Michigan State University Press

Barbara J. Barton is an endangered species biologist; member of the State of Michigan's wild rice working group, Michigan Water Environment Association, and western Upper Peninsula's wild rice team; and academic affiliate of the University of Michigan's College of Literature, Science and the Arts Biological Station, where she collaborates on the state's wild rice map. She was awarded the 2009 MSU Extension Diversity Award for her work with the Michigan tribes on Manoomin.

Lisa Jenn Bigelow, Drum Roll, Please, Harper/HarperCollins Publishers 

Lisa Jenn Bigelow grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where she started writing at the age of seven.  Lisa’s young adult novel, Starting from Here, was named a Rainbow List Top Ten Book by the American Library Association. Drum Roll, Please is her middle grade debut. When she isn’t writing, she serves as a youth librarian in the Chicago suburbs.

Anna Clark, The Poisoned City: Flint's Water and the American Urban Tragedy, Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company

Anna Clark, a native of St. Joseph, is a journalist in Detroit.  Anna graduated from the University of Michigan’s Residential College majoring in History of Art and Creative Writing & Literature. She also graduated from Warren Wilson College’s MFA Program for Writers. Anna’s articles have appeared in Elle Magazine, the New York TimesPolitico, the Columbia Journalism Review, and Next City.  She also edited A Detroit Anthology. Anna has been a Fulbright fellow in Kenya, and a Knight-Wallace journalism fellow at the University of Michigan.

Eileen Ryan Ewen , Illustrator, Nature's Friend: The Gwen Frostic Story, Sleeping Bear Press

Illustrator and children’s author Eileen Ryan Ewen was born into a family of artists who fostered her love of story- telling through pictures. She earned a BFA in Painting from Miami University (Ohio) and an MFA in Creative writing from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She is also the illustrator of Miss Colfax’s Light

Linda Nemec Foster, Lake Michigan Mermaid: A Tale in Poems, Wayne State University Press

Linda Nemec Foster is the founder of the Contemporary Writers Series at Aquinas College. She is also the author of nine collections of poetry including Amber Necklace from GdanskTalking DiamondsListen to the Landscape, and Living in the Fire Nest. Foster was selected to be the first poet laureate of Grand Rapids, MI from 2003 to 2005.

Keith Gave, The Russian Five: A Story of Espionage, Defection, Bribery and Courage, Gold Star Publishing

Keith Gave spent six years in the United States Army as a Russian linguist working for the National Security Agency during the Cold War.  He continued with a career as a sports writer covering hockey for the Detroit Free Press.  His 15 years with the newspaper were a part of nearly 40 years in the news industry, which include 14 years as a college journalism instructor. He lives in Roscommon, Michigan.

Joe Grimm, Faygo Book, Painted Turtle/Wayne State University Press

Joe Grimm wrote The Faygo Book after building up a tremendous thirst working on Coney Detroit with Katherine Yung.  A lifelong Detroit-area resident and twenty-five-year veteran of the Detroit Free Press, Grimm is a Michigan State University journalism professor. His favorite Faygo flavor is Rock & Rye.

Michael Gustafson, Notes from a Public Typewriter,  Editor,  Grand Central Publishing

After the closure of the iconic independent bookstore Shaman Drum and the bankruptcy of Ann Arbor’s own Borders, Michigan natives Michael and Hilary Gustafson took a leap and opened Literati Bookstore in downtown Ann Arbor in 2013. Mike Gustafson, originally from Lowell, Michigan, worked as a video producer and freelance writer. Hilary worked as a sales representative for Simon & Schuster in New York before returning home to Ann Arbor. Hilary and Mike live in Ann Arbor with their two cats and newborn daughter, Greta. 

Mona Hanna-Attisha, What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City, One World/Random House 

Mona Hanna-Attisha is an Iraqi American physician, scientist, and activist who helped expose the Flint Water Crisis.  Raised in Royal Oak, she holds degrees from both the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.  She completed her residency and chief residency at Wayne State University, Children's Hospital of Michigan.  She has been awarded the Freedom of Expression Courage Award by PEN America and named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.  She is currently the Director of the Pediatric Residency Program at the Hurley Medical Center in Flint.

Michael H. Hodges, Building the Modern World: Albert Kahn in Detroit, Painted Turtle/Wayne State University Press

Michael H. Hodges is the fine-arts writer at The Detroit News, where he’s worked since the early 1990s. Building the Modern World: Albert Kahn in Detroit is his second book. His first book which features his own photography, Michigan’s Historic Railroad Stations, was named a Michigan Notable Book in 2013 by the Library of Michigan.  While his roots run deep in Detroit, Hodges grew up on a dairy farm and attended Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills.  He resides in a historic district of Ann Arbor.

Lindsey Klingele, The Truth Lies Here, HarperTeen/HarperCollins Publishers

Lindsey Klingele grew up in Portage, Michigan, and identifies herself as an avid reader and television watcher.  She moved to Los Angeles to work as a writers' assistant for television shows such as ABC Family’s The Lying Game and Twisted.  She is the author of The Marked Girl and its sequel, The Broken World.  She lives in Los Angles with her soon to be growing family and pitbull, Bighead.

Wayne Kramer, Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5 & My Life of Impossibilities, Da Capo Press

Wayne Kramers, the leader of Detroit’s rock band The MC5, helped form the White Panther Party in solidarity with other organizations working for racial and economic equality during the Vietnam War. After serving a federal prison term, he released ten solo albums. He is considered a pioneer of both punk rock and heavy metal, with Rolling Stone naming him one of the top 100 guitarists of all time. Alongside songwriter Billy Bragg, Kramer founded Jail Guitar Doors USA, a non-profit with a mission to help rehabilitate prison inmates by teaching them to express themselves positively through music.

Lisa Ludwinski  Sister Pie: The Recipes & Stories of a Big-Hearted Bakery in Detroit, Lorena Jones Books/Ten Speed Press

Lisa Ludwinski grew up in Milford, Michigan and studied Theatre Arts at Kalamazoo College before moving away to Brooklyn, NY to pursue a career in film.  Six years and one cooking show later, in 2012, she moved back to Michigan to launch Sister Pie out of her parent's Milford kitchen.  By 2015 they were able to move the shop to Detroit.  Lisa currently lives with her dog in the West Village of Detroit.

Mitch Lutzke, The Page Fence Giants: A History of Black Baseball's Pioneering Champions, McFarland & Company, Inc

Mitch Lutzke was an award-winning radio reporter before beginning his second career as a high school history teacher and coach in Michigan.  He has had history themed articles published in newspapers, magazines, web pages and with the Society for American Baseball Research. He lives in Williamston, Michigan.

Lisa McCubbin, Betty Ford: First Lady, Women's Advocate, Survivor, Trailblazer, Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Lisa McCubbin is the coauthor of four New York Times bestsellers: Five PresidentsMrs. Kennedy and MeFive Days in November; and The Kennedy Detail.  A graduate of Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, she has been a television news anchor and reporter, hosted her own radio talk show, and spent six years in the Middle East as a freelance journalist in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Doha, Qatar. She currently resides in the San Francisco Bay area.  

Lindsey McDivitt, Nature's Friend: The Gwen Frostic Story, Sleeping Bear Press

Lindsey McDivitt holds a Speech and Hearing Science degree from the University of Minnesota.  She began writing books for children after many years creating health education programs.  She was co-editor of a book of true stories of hope and healing written by stroke survivors.  She has spent most of her life near the Mississippi River or the Great Lakes.  After eight years exploring Michigan, she now lives in Minnesota.

Daniel Minter, Illustrator,  So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth's Long Walk Toward Freedom, Roaring Brook Press

Daniel Minter is a painter and illustrator of 11 children’s books.  His paintings, carvings, block prints and sculptures have been exhibited both nationally and internationally at galleries and museums, including the Seattle Art Museum, Northwest African American Art Museum, Museu Jorge Amado and the Meridian International Center.  Minter lives in Portland, Maine where he now resides with his wife and son.

Anne-Marie Oomen, Editor, Elemental: A Collection of Michigan Creative Nonfiction, Wayne State University Press

Anne-Marie Oomen is author of Next Generation Indie Award winner Love, Sex and 4-HHouse of Fields and Pulling Down the Barn, both Michigan Notable Books, and a work of poetry, Uncoded Woman amongst several others works.  She teaches at the Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College in Massachusetts and Interlochen’s College of Creative Arts as well as conferences throughout the country.

Meridith Ridl, Lake Michigan Mermaid: A Tale in Poems, Wayne State University Press 

Meridith Ridl is an artist and an art teacher with a BA from the College of Wooster and MFA from the University of Michigan. She is represented by Lafontsee Galleries in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Meridith lives with her wonderful husband Brent, in Saugatuck, Michigan, and loves wandering the lakeshore and dunes.

Gary D. Schmidt, So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth's Long Walk Toward Freedom, Roaring Brook Press

Gary Schmidt received his undergraduate degree in English from Gordon College in 1979. Thereafter he attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, receiving an MA in English in 1981 and then a PhD in medieval literature in 1985. He joined the Calvin College English department the same year.  He has been awarded the Newbery Honor for his books Wednesday Wars and Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy with Okay for Now being a finalist for the National Book Award.

Oliver Uberti, Editor, Notes from a Public Typewriter, Grand Central Publishing

Oliver Uberti is a former senior design editor for National Geographic and the co-author of two critically-acclaimed books of maps and graphics: Where the Animals Go and London: The Information Capital, each of which won the top British Cartographic Society Award for cartographic excellence. When not writing books, Oliver designs infographics, book covers, and branding and supports the children’s writing program 826michigan.

 Lee Zacharias, Across the Great Lake, University of Wisconsin Press

Lee Zacharias is the author of a collection of short stories, Helping Muriel Make It Through the Night; two other novels, Lessons, and At Random; and a collection of personal essays, The Only Sounds We Make.  She holds degrees from Indiana University, Hollins College, and the University of Arkansas, and has taught at Princeton University and the University of North Carolina Greensboro, where she is Emerita Professor of English.

Michael Zadoorian, Beautiful Music, Akashic Books

Michael Zadoorian is the author of three previous works, The Leisure Seeker, Second Hand and the Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit.  Zadoorian is a recipient of a Kresge Artist Fellowship in the Literary Arts and the GLIBA Great Lakes Great Reads Award.  His work has appeared in The Literary Review, American Short Fiction, Great Lakes Review, North American Review, The Huffington Post and the anthologies Bob Seger’s House, Looping Detroit, On the Clock, and Detroit Noir.  A lifelong resident of the Detroit area, he lives with his wife and cats.

Updated 02/28/2022