MCC News

National Award-Winning Author in Muskegon Oct. 25

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Thomas Lynch, whose brilliant writing captured The American Book Award and served as the basis for an Emmy Award-winning film, will appear at the Frauenthal Theater on Friday, Oct. 25, as part of the 2013 Muskegon Area Arts and Humanities Festival.

The talk begins at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. for book sales, drinks and live music by Skee-Town Style in the lobby. Tickets are $10 for general admission and can be purchased at the Theater Box Office.  For ticket information, call (231) 727-8001, 1 (800) 585-3737 or visit online at Tickets are also available for purchase through MCC’s English Department, Room 154.

The event is sponsored by Muskegon Community College, the Muskegon Writers’ Center, and the Muskegon Area Arts and Humanities Festival. For more information, contact Mary Tyler at (231) 777-0327 or by e-mail at

A funeral director for the past 40 years in the Michigan communities of Milford and Brighton, Lynch’s first nonfiction work, The Undertaking (1997), won The American Book Award, The Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Published in eight languages, the book was the basis for the PBS/Frontline film “The Undertaking,” broadcast nationwide in October 2007 and the 2008 Emmy Award winner for Arts and Culture Documentary.

His book Bodies in Motion and at Rest (1998) won the Great Lakes Book Award, and Booking Passage (2005), was named a 2006 Notable Book by the Library of Michigan, as was his book of short stories, Apparition and Late Fictions (2010). His collections of poems include Skating with Heather Grace (1987), Grimalkin & Other Poems (1994), Still Life in Milford (2000), Walking Papers (2010) and The Sin-eater: A Breviary (2011).

His work has appeared in Harper’s, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Granta, Newsweek, Esquire, The New York Times, The Times of London and The Irish Times. Lynch has been broadcast by NPR, the BBC and RTE in Ireland. The Irish filmmaker, Cathal Black’s documentary “Learning Gravity,” filmed in Michigan and West Clare, follows the tributaries of Lynch’s poems and essays. Booking Passage: We Irish and Americans is Lynch’s memoir of his Irish connections – both literary and familial. He has read and lectured across the U.S., Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Lynch has taught at Wayne State University’s Department of Mortuary Science and with the Graduate Creative Writing Program at the University of Michigan. In Spring 2013 he held the McDonald Family Chair at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. He taught there with Dr. Thomas G. Long, with whom he co-authored The Good Funeral: Death, Grief and the Community of Care, just published by Westminster John Knox Press.