Traverse City’s National Writers Series welcomes world-class writers and fall’s most anticipated stories to the City Opera House stage this October.

While the weather’s getting cooler, the National Writer’s Series fall program is heating up! NPR reporter Aarti Shahani kicks off October with a powerful memoir about her immigrant family, followed closely by Oak Island adventure-seeker Randall Sullivan. Susan Orlean, the author of The Orchid Thief, marks the midway point with an ode to libraries and to close out the month, an event featuring the acclaimed father-son combo Nelson and Alex DeMille.

The first of October’s celebrated authors, NPR correspondent and journalist Aarti Shahani takes the City Opera House stage on October 6 to discuss her debut memoir, Here We Are: American Dreams, American Nightmares. The tale of a house divided, as the ambitious Aarti heads to prep school while her immigrant father finds himself in jail, is one, Shahani says, that simply had to be told. “There was a story sitting inside me that I needed to tell. And I felt I couldn’t move on with my life until I told it.” At its core, Here We Are is a story of discovery: of family, of a country, and most importantly, of the truth. “When I was little, [my dad] was a stranger,” Shahani says. “The man who worked, came home late and smoked cigarettes quietly in a corner. But I can say with certainty that I got to know my father, and he was a good man.” As for Shahani’s future endeavors? “I’ve started working on my second book. I won’t say more.”

Randall Sullivan, a Grand Traverse area local and acclaimed author six times over, arrives at the City Opera House on October 9. An engineer by trade, and a three-decade veteran of the petroleum industry, Sullivan has since made his name as a producer and writer. Sullivan is a former contributing editor to Rolling Stone, and his writing has appeared everywhere from Esquire to The Guardian. In his most recent release, The Curse of Oak Island, Sullivan explores the enigmatic “money pit” of Oak Island, Nova Scotia. Originally discovered in 1795, the money pit has enchanted generations of rovers, even driving a few to insolvency and death. Now with its own eponymous History Channel show (this time, featuring Michigan brothers Marty and Rick Lagina), The Curse of Oak Island remains unbroken. And Sullivan’s taking us all along for the ride.

On October 16, New York Times best-selling author Susan Orlean will review the feat that set her pen—and soul—ablaze. On April 29, 1986, the blaze now known as the LAPL fire lit the shelves of the Los Angeles Public Library. The results were catastrophic. By the time local firefighters finished the inferno, it had engulfed more than 40,000 books and damaged nearly 70,000 more. In her 2018 release, The Library Book, Susan Orlean addresses the LAPL fire head-on: was the fire an accident or an act of arson? Armed with the experience of an award-winning reporter, Orlean takes her investigation one step further, chronicling the evolution of libraries from the very beginning, and using the fire to frame the growing importance of libraries in the digital era.

Prepare yourselves for double duty on October 27. In his newest novel, The Deserter, number-one New York Times bestselling author Nelson DeMille is at it again, and this time, he’s bringing his son, award-winning screenwriter Alex DeMille, along. When a video released by members of the Taliban reach military officials, one thing is certain: Captain Kyle Mercer, a member of the Army’s Delta Elite force stationed in Afghanistan, is gone. But the details remain unclear. Is Mercer an absconder, or was he apprehended? When an old army buddy spots him in Caracas a year later, investigative team Scott Brodie and Maggie Taylor are ordered to bring him home—dead or alive. Rife with plot-twists, treason and plenty of romantic tension, The Deserter is just as dynamic as the duo behind it.

Buy tickets online, or call or stop by the City Opera House Box Office Monday–Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 231-941-8082, ext. 201.