Airgood will host a book discussion, writing workshop at the Sault


SAULT STE. MARY – Michigan author Ellen Airgood will be hosting events at the Bayliss Public Library as well as Island Books & Crafts later this month, which are free and open to the public.

From 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on October 29, Airgood will be at Island Books & Crafts for a reading, Q&A and book signing for their new novel titled “Tin Camp Road”.

In the book, set in the Upper Peninsula, a young single mother and her 10-year-old daughter weather the trials of rural poverty and find the community they need to survive. Airgood said her love for the people and places of the Upper Peninsula inspired her to write this book, which took about seven years to complete.

“I see a lot of courage and courage and a lot of humor and humility in the people of the Upper Peninsula, I see calm and deep struggles that are not often reflected in current literature,” Airgood said in a E-mail. “I see pride, independence and creativity. I see people whose voices I would like to hear as a reader. I wanted to open a window for people from other places and from all walks of life to take a look at a way of life that they might not know or understand very well.

Airgood grew up in Michigan’s thumb and went to Ann Arbor to attend college. She said that while these places will always feel like home, she fell in love with the Upper Peninsula when she was in high school. Airgood stayed with a friend at her family cabin on Round Lake near Curtis and said she was captivated. This sense of captivation occurred again when she was a college student, attending a forest camp near Iron River, and once again while camping at Pictured Rocks.

The author from Michigan eventually moved to Grand Marais, where she and her husband currently own a restaurant. The couple work 80 to 100 hours a week together most of the year. Here, Airgood has served tables, cooked, prepared meals and placed orders and more for 30 years. During this time, she said that she had met a lot of people and had interacted with them. While she hasn’t incorporated anyone she has met at work directly into her novel, Airgood is sure that she has incorporated her sense of how people are, what they do and say into her work.

“The biggest challenge was not giving up,” Airgood said of the hardest part of writing “Tin Camp Road”. “The main character, Laurel, was not easy to get to know. I wandered for a long time, trying to figure out what was at stake for her, what she wanted more than anything, what could prevent her from getting it. I overcame this obstacle by being stubborn, I guess. The more I got to know Laurel and Skye, Mary Lynn and Sam, Naomi and Hugh, the less I could afford to give up their book.

Although Airgood has her hands full with dinner, she has wanted to be a writer since she was 10, a desire that has never gone away. She said for a long time that the motivation came from this urge and this need. Sometimes, however, that’s not always enough to sustain a novel, so she’s found that it’s usually the characters themselves that motivate her to keep going. Airgood said she “came to feel responsible to and for them”.

As for finding time to write, Airgood said it was a difficult question. She gets up early in the morning when working on a writing project. She has the freedom to choose her schedules and sets long deadlines. While his writing hangs in the busiest restaurant seasons, Airgood hopes to prepare another book over the years.

Following her move, Airgood believes the Upper Peninsula has turned her into a tougher and kinder person at the same time.

“Life is often far from easy here, but there is a lot to learn on rough roads,” Airgood said.

Michigan author Ellen Airgood.

She attributed the widening of her mind and imagination to the authenticity of the people, the beauty and immediacy of the woods and water.

Airgood is no stranger to the Sault, having traveled here to stock up on supplies, visit friends and go shopping. The sense of the story here is something she admires. She said she looks forward to meeting readers and sightseeing downtown and hopes to have time to grab a gyroscope at Zorbas or an espresso with a meal at Penny’s Kitchen.

At the October 29 event, attendees can expect a lot of interaction with the audience. Airgood said she doesn’t like giving speeches or talking about herself, but loves meeting readers and writers. She loves to hear their questions and she says she always tries to answer them honestly.

“I hope that many readers will enjoy ‘Tin Camp Road’, whether it’s to get a new perspective on life for them or to see some of their own experiences reflected in the job,” Airgood said.

At 6:30 p.m. on October 28, Airgood will host a workshop on the importance and potential of the front lines at the Bayliss Public Library. High school students and adults are welcome to attend.

Airgood urges novice novelists to read, to be confident and humble at the same time, to strive to learn what makes writing strong and what makes it weak, to write about what is important to you, to find your best working time, set a schedule and stick to it. Most importantly, enjoy the writing process.

For more information on Ellen Airgood, visit

– Contact reporter Taylor Worsham at [email protected]


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