Acclaimed fiction writer John Smolens wins 2010 Michigan Author Award

LANSING, MI - The Michigan Center for the Book has announced John Smolens - author of critically acclaimed thrillers and other forms of fiction, many set in Michigan, as the winner of the 2010 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.

''The reason this is such a unique honor is because it comes from people who are so committed to the written word.'' Smolens said. ''Where would we be without it? I know I'd be lost. Books, stories, language -- these are the rarest, most essential gifts. The fact that someone can walk into a public library and take one of my books down from the shelf is all the compensation I'll ever need.''

Kirkus Reviews notes, ''Smolens is especially deft at capturing the rhythms of small-town life and the complexity of his 'ordinary people.''' In January 2005, the Detroit Free Press selected Fire Point as the best book by a Michigan Author in 2004. The Denver Post, in comparing Smolens' work to Hemingway, notes ''Smolens also takes advantage of the Lake Superior area to great effect.... Smolens has done a superlative job of rendering a place and its people realistically.''

Smolens has published five novels, Cold, The Invisible World, Fire Point, Angel's Head, and Winter by Degrees; and one collection of short stories, My One and Only Bomb Shelter. His new book, entitled The Anarchist, is a historical novel that depicts the William McKinley's assassination. His short stories and essays have been in various magazines and newspapers, including Redbook, Yankee, Massachusetts Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Writer's Digest, Writer's Market, The Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe.

''John Smolens' books have dramatically illustrated the lives of everyday people in Michigan towns,'' said Karren Reish, Michigan Center for the Book coordinator. ''In his deft hands, the atmosphere of a cold northern winter comes alive and gives the reader an insight into our great state.''

Smolens, who lives in Marquette, was educated at Boston College, the University of New Hampshire, and the University of Iowa. Currently, he is a professor of English at Northern Michigan University.

This year's award will be presented at the Michigan Library Association's ''Yes We Can!'' conference at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, in Traverse City on Nov. 9-12, 2010. Tickets are available to hear Smolens speak at the award-presentation luncheon on Friday, Nov. 12. For more information and to access the conference registration, visit the Michigan Library Association Web site at www.mla.lib. mi.us/events/annual .

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 www.michigan.gov/ mcfb <http://www. michigan. gov/mcfb> .

Copyright © 2010 State of Michigan

Published: Thu, Jul 15, 2010

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