Janzen, a former poet laureate of UCLA and now an assistant professor of English at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, will discuss her best-selling memoir, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. The book is a humorous recount of Janzen’s return to the conservative Mennonite community of her childhood at the age of 43, following a traumatic period in which her husband left her for a man he met online and she was involved in a serious car accident. A hilarious culture clash develops during her stay with her well-meaning parents. The New York Times called Mennonite in a Little Black Dress wonderfully intelligent and frank,” and it received rave reviews in USA Today, People, Entertainment Weekly and Publishers Weekly.

The New York Times best-selling author and Traverse City National Writers Series founder Doug Stanton will take the stage to interview Janzen at the event. Janzen will also briefly read from her book and take questions from the audience. Doors for the event will open at 6 p.m. with appetizers and a cash bar. Following the presentation, Janzen will join the audience for an afterglow reception with a cash bar and book signing.

The intimate evening is part of the 2010 National Writers Series, a year-round book festival that brings in the brightest celebrities of the literary world to the Midwest and Northern Michigan. Founded in 2009 by Stanton, investigative journalist Anne Stanton and attorney Grant Parsons, the series is dedicated to bringing to life great conversations with today’s best-selling authors, journalists, and premier storytellers in a lively setting. The series is also the creator of the National Writers Series Scholarship program, whose mission it is to support young authors planning to study writing in college. Series organizers are partnering with area schools, libraries, bookstores, and businesses to host the events and fund the scholarships.

Upcoming authors for the 2010 season include memoirist Mary Karr (The Liar’s Club and Lit) on April 18, and news anchor and author Tom Brokaw (The Greatest Generation and Boom! Voices of the Sixties) on May 12, both at the City Opera House.

Tickets for “An Evening with Rhoda Janzen” can be purchased at the City Opera House box office, or online at cityoperahouse.org and treattickets.com. Tickets are $15 advance/$20 at the door for adults, and $5 for students. For more information, visit nationalwritersseries.org