2024 U.P. Notable Books List honors the year’s best U.P. authors and their books

MARQUETTE, MI (January 2nd, 2024)— the Upper Peninsula Publishers & Authors Association (UPPAA) announces the 5th Annual U.P. Notable Books List this week. UPPAA Notable Books chairman Mikel Classen (Sault Ste. Marie) initiated the effort in 2019 as a response to the lack of representation of U.P. writers in other Michigan state literary circles. Classen said, “Traditionally, recognition of Michigan books has been dominated by the university presses downstate and we would like to take this opportunity to highlight literature that focuses closer to home for us.”

Evelyn Gathu, Director of the Crystal Falls District Community Library, will continue the library’s alliance with UPPAA to co-sponsor the U.P. Notable Book Club.  The club is available to any interested reader and features monthly Zoom meetups with national bestselling U.P. Notable authors such as Karen Dionne (The Marsh King’s Daughter) and Ellen Airgood (Tin Camp Road).  Members borrow the books from their local libraries or purchase them at local stores prior to discussions. Presentations include author readings, a conversation on the making of the book, and a live Q&A with the audience. The next meeting is January 11th, 2024 where the dark fantasy The Biting Cold will be discussed with author Matthew Hellman.

UP Notable Books medallionTo build this fifth annual list, UPPAA consulted with Upper Michigan booksellers, book reviewers, writers, and publishers to winnow down the notable books to a bare ten titles. These titles demonstrate the wide reach of U.P. literature as they span juvenile, middle-grade, YA, and adult audiences. You can find reviews of many of these books on the UP Book Review. The award committee emphasizes that the list is unranked, each title deserves equal merit as a U.P. Notable Book. These ten books have been deemed essential reading for every U.P. lover and we highly recommend you ask your local librarian or booksellers for them today!

  1. The Great Seney Fire: A History of the Walsh Ditch Fire of 1976 by Gregory M. Lusk (Snowsnake Press, 2023)
  2. Grim Paradise: The Cold Case Search for the Mackinac Island Killer by Rod Sadler (WildBlue Press, 2023)
  3. Odin’s Eye: A Marquette Time Travel Novel by Tyler R. Tichler (Marquette Fiction, 2023)
  4. Midwife’s Touch by Sue Harrison (Shanty Cove Books, 2023)
  5. Yooper Ale Trails: Craft Breweries and Brewpubs of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula by Jon C. Stott (Modern History Press, 2023)
  6. Unsolved Mysteries of Father Marquette’s Many Graves by Jennifer S. McGraw (Pine Stump Publications, 2023)
  7. Prehistoric Copper Mining in Michigan: The Nineteenth-Century Discovery of “Ancient Diggings” in the Keweenaw Peninsula and Isle Royale by John R. Halsey (UMich Press, 2018)
  8. Brockway Mountain Stories by Paul LaVanway (Mudminnow Press, 2023)
  9. Who Am I? by Julie Buchholtz (Sleeping Bear Press, 2023)
  10. A Nostalgic Lens: Photographs and Essays from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula by Peter Wurdock (Blue Boundary Books, 2023)

This Year’s U.P. Notable Classics
The U.P. Notable Books Committee continues its initiative called U.P. Notable Classics which highlights significant U.P.-themed literature that has remained essential for at least 10 years. The committee hopes that these books can bring enjoyment to a new generation of readers.

  • Death’s Door: The Truth Behind Michigan’s Largest Mass Murder by Steve Lehto (Momentum Press, 2006)
  • Murder at Mackinac: A Novel by Ronald J. Lewis (Agawa Press, 1995)

The U.P. Notable Books List will also appear in the upcoming 8th volume of U.P. Reader, UPPAA’s own annual literary anthology featuring short stories, poetry and essays by its members. This successful publication helps spread the word about the organization, raise money for educational programming and encourages people in the Upper Peninsula and beyond to read U.P. writers. Complimentary copies of the U.P. Reader are available to all U.P. educators and media for the asking. The on-sale date is scheduled for April 15th.  Consult your local bookseller for availability or purchase at Amazon. For more information, visit www.UPReader.org.

Established in 1998 to support authors and publishers who live in or write about Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, UPPAA is a Michigan nonprofit association with more than 100 members, many of whose books are featured on the organization’s website at www.uppaa.org. UPPAA welcomes membership and participation from anyone with a UP connection who is interested in writing and publishing books.

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