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The Pull Of The Farm Inspires Wisconsin Writer

Author Michael Perry

Author Michael Perry Courtesy of Michael Perry

Michael Perry is a New York Times Bestselling author, known for his memoirs of growing up in and returning to rural Wisconsin. He is also a humorist, singer/songwriter, radio host, and intermittent pig farmer. Even with all of that he is visiting Champaign-Urbana Saturday as the keynote speaker for the Champaign Library’s Local Author Festival. 

We talked with him prior to his visit about how the Midwest has shaped his writing, why farming resonates with him and more. Perry says that one of best lessons he's learned about writing he learned from his father cleaning calf pens on their Wisconsin dairy farm, "and that was just keep shoveling until you have a pile so big somebody has to notice ... you don't have to do anything fancy - you just have to show up and get the work done." 

That Perry does well. In addition to being a parent and intermittent farmer, he's published numerous articles in The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Backpacker, Outside, Runner’s World and more, nine books, three albums with his band the Long Beds, and hosted Tent Show Radio (which counts a few public radio stations among its station carriage) for five years. 

"The word that comes to mind whenever I do these interviews is just gratitude ... I love being able to be a writer," says Perry. "I love being able to hang out with readers, and so I'm very much looking forward to coming down for the event because it very uplifting to be in the presence of people who like the written word." 


Michael Perry will be speaking at the Champaign Public Library on Writing from the Middle of Nowhere and signing books on Saturday, April 11th at 2 pm. Perry states, "Those of us who live far from the Coasts often feel as if we are writing from the middle of nowhere in every sense." In a humorous, down-to-earth presentation, he will discuss how "the middle of nowhere" can be the best place of all for writers and other artists.