NC Literary Hall of Fame



Across the Great Lake by Lee Zacharias

The University of Wisconsin Press
$23.95, hardcover
ISBN: 978-0-299-32090-4
September, 2018
Fiction: Literary
Available from your local bookstore and

“One of the most intensely written and beautifully conceived novels to come my way in many a season….Zacharias is a master.”
—Steve Yarbrough, author of The Unmade World

“Lee Zacharias is one of those profoundly rare writers, a natural. Her voice is one you can trust, and her characters are real, moving, and come from the experience of someone who knows what trouble human beings get themselves into.”
—Craig Nova, author of The Good Son

“An astonishing novel of high intelligence and moral rigor. Lee Zacharias is a master….Like Harper Lee and Marilynne Robinson, Zacharias reminds us of the lasting power of childhood.“
—Elaine Neil Orr, author of Swimming Between Worlds

In the novel, set during the brutally cold winter of 1936, Captain Henrik Halvorsen takes his five-year-old daughter across Lake Michigan on his railroad car ferry because her mother is dying. Eighty years later, she remembers the impact of that journey in a fictional memoir that is part tragic nautical adventure and part ghost story as well as a love song to a time and place.

Lee Zacharias is the author of a collection of short stories, Helping Muriel Make It Through the Night; three novels, Across the Great Lake, Lessons, and At Random; and a collection of personal essays, The Only Sounds We Make. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council, North Carolina's Sir Walter Raleigh Award, Southern Humanities Review's Theodore Christian Hoepfner Award, Prairie Schooner's Glenna Luschei Award, and a Silver Medal in Creative Nonfiction from the Independent Publisher Book Awards (the IPPYs). Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in numerous journals and been recognized by The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Essay, which reprinted her essay "Buzzards" in its 2008 edition. She taught at the University Arkansas, Princeton University, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she is Emerita Professor of English, as well as many conferences, most recently the Wildacres Writers Workshop. Find her online at

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