2023 U.P. Notable Books List honors the year’s best U.P. authors and their books

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MARQUETTE, MI (January 3rd, 2023)— the Upper Peninsula Publishers & Authors Association (UPPAA) announces the 4th 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 U.P. resident and features monthly Zoom meetups with national bestselling U.P. Notable authors such as Karen Dionne (The Wicked Sister). Members borrow the books from their local libraries or purchase 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 12th, 2023 where The SideRoad Kids: Tales of Chippewa County  will be discussed with noted EUP columnist and author Sharon M. Kennedy.

To build this fourth 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 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 Big Island; a Story of Isle Royale – Julian May and John Schoenherr (UMN Press reprints, 2022)
  2. North of Nelson: Stories of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – Hilton Everett Moore (Silver Mountain Press, 2022)
  3. We Kept Our Towns Going: The Gossard Girls of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – Phyllis Michael Wong (MSU Press, 2022)
  4. Dissecting Anatomy of a Murder – Eugene Milhizer (Ave Maria School of Law Press, 2019)
  5. Shipwrecked and Rescued, Cars and Crew: The City of Bangor  – Larry Jorgensen (Fresh Ink Group, 2022)
  6. Dorothy is Moving Mountains, a True Story – Dorothy Paad and Matthew Forgrave (DEPBooks 2022)
  7. The Biting Cold Matthew Hellman (Beacon Publishing Group, 2022)
  8. Superior Voyage anthology –  Marquette Poet;s Circle, Ed. by Rick Rastall (self-published, 2022)
  9. Empire Mine – Cascade Range: Michigan’s Largest Iron Mine Allan Koski (self-published, 2022)
  10. Cady and the Birchbark Box: A Cady Whirlwind Thunder Mystery Ann Dallman (Modern History Press)

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

  • Bloodstoppers and Bearwalkers: Folk Traditions of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula by Richard M, Dorson (University of Wisconsin Press, 2008)
  • Ice Hunter: a Woods Cop Mystery by Joseph Heywood (2nd Ed; Lyons Press, 2008)

Why should U.P. residents take note of U.P. books?  Victor R. Volkman, UPPAA President, elborates:

I think it’s important to recognize the literature of the U.P. as  significant because it embeds a lot of cultural heritage and history that readers should be proud of.  Regardless of whether it’s a  historical treatise such as the story of the Gossard Girls in Ishpeming  and Gwinn in “We Kept Our Towns Going” or whether it is a middle-grade  fiction book that features positive Anishinaabe stories in the “Cady  Whirlwind Thunder” series, it all contributes to a sense of pride and  accomplishment that might otherwise be overlooked because of immediate economic and  demographic problems in the U.P.

The U.P. Notable Books List will appear in the upcoming 7th 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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