05/02/2012 08:22 am ET

Made In Michigan Writers Series Receives $500,000 Grant From Meijer Foundation

It’s a good time for Michigan writers to get to work on their next brilliant manuscript: Wayne State University Press on Tuesday announced a grant from the Meijer Foundation that will support a series of work from in-state authors.

The Meijer Foundation will donate $500,000 over five years to the publisher's Made In Michigan Writers Series. It's the largest grant in WSU Press's history. The series already has published 24 fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction books by Michigan authors since its start in 2006.

"At Meijer our future is closely tied to the vitality of our great state, cultural and otherwise," Co-chairman Hank Meijer said in a statement. "'Made in Michigan' means a lot to us, from the products on our shelves to the literary achievements of Michigan writers."

Started with a grant from the Michigan Council For Arts and Cultural Affairs, the Made in Michigan series continued even as its funding was cut. Each year, WSU now publishes more books in the series than the year before. The new grant is expected to help the press to continue publishing as well as to pursue other outreach projects, like pairing with state libraries, starting a contest for unpublished writers, and widening its digital publishing program.

Editors of the series publish work from writers who don't have other obvious outlets. They find most of their authors through submissions -- one great motivation to work on a manuscript. From the likes of Elmore Leonard to Philip Levine, Michigan has produced illustrious authors in all genres, and bestselling ones, too. Two books from the Made in Michigan series, "allegiance" by francine j. harris and "The Light Between" by Terry Blackhawk, spent time near the top of the best-selling contemporary poetry list earlier this year.

If the books in the Made in Michigan Writers Series make you eager to read more regional books, check out the Library of Michigan's selections of last year's notable books about the state or by local authors.

Flickr photo by skinnylawyer.