The faculty of the English Department at Lake Superior State University and the Writing the Upper Peninsula Award selection committee are happy to announce six finalists for the second annual 2014 Writing the U.P. award. The purpose of the Writing the U.P. Award is to honor an author of fiction, who has portrayed through vivid description, believable characters, and story the essence of life in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
These writers have been selected from the many nominations we received from U.P. residents, librarians working in the U.P., and the regional academic community for the significant contribution they have made to the literature of the region. Below are the finalists’ names along with a few of the comments made by those who nominated them:
Ellen Airgood: “Airgood’s faithful rendering of place and characters in her novel, South of Superior, is so flawlessly delivered, that it is not unusual for longtime residents of the Upper Peninsula to read her work and feel certain they’ve walked the streets of the same small towns and spoken with the very characters of her story.”
Steve Hamilton: “Each of Hamilton’s mysteries are exciting in and of themselves, but there is an extra layer of interest as he brings the U.P. to life through locations and characters that are true to the area.”
Jim Harrison: “Harrison is a gifted writer whose name and work have long been connected with northern Michigan. He should be recognized for having put this region on the map of imagination for many readers.”
Joseph D. Haske: “Although Haske now lives in another state, he writes about this place like only a native can, and he does return every year to visit his large family who still live in the area. His novel, North Dixie Highway, is peopled with eccentric characters who truly do feel like they have been lifted from these streets, and its characters speak in the idiosyncratic voices we hear every day.”
L. E. Kimball: “Kimball is a new voice who offers a fresh perspective on life in the U.P. Her work published, among other places, in the anthology, The Way North, is full of promise.”
Ron Riekki: “Riekki’s short stories and his full-length novel UP deliver an unflinchingly honest and gritty portrayal of life in the U.P., and his dedication to seeing that U.P. writers gain recognition, most notably through his work as editor on the anthology, The Way North, is changing the face of U.P. literature. “
The award-selection committee would like to thank those who submitted nominations for this year’s award. The nominees submitted truly reflect the reality of the region: the U.P. is unique. No one type of story can represent us. Our nominees have penned a diverse body of work, from children’s tales, to difficult coming-of-age stories within native and mixed ethnic cultures, to mysteries, literary novels, and reflective essays.
The winner of the Writing the U.P. Award will be announced later in November.