Meet Walter Wangerin
For two decades, Walter Wangerin, Jr. has been captivating audiences with an amazing gift of storytelling that few can match. He’s penned more than 20 critically acclaimed books for children and adults, proving himself equally adept at fiction, theology, poetry, essays, and devotionals. These works have earned him such honorable distinctions as The New York Times’ Best Children’s Book of the Year (The Book of the Dun Cow); The American Book Award (The Book of the Dun Cow); five Gold Medallion Book Awards (Ragman and Other Cries of Faith, Potter, As for Me and My House, Reliving the Passion, and The Book of God); the CSIA C.S. Lewis Award (Potter); Association of Logos Bookstores Book Award for Best Fiction (The Book of Sorrows); Association of Logos Bookstores Book Award for Best Book (The Book of God); and Virtue Magazine Book of the Year (As for Me and My House).
Eugene Peterson calls Walter "one of the master storytellers of our generation," Calvin Miller says that he may "perhaps be Christianity’s most important writer," and Christianity Today adds, "Walter Wangerin’s intelligence is so rich he could become a lasting voice in American letters." So where does a writer of such magnitude come from?
Walter Wangerin, Jr., the oldest of seven children, was born February 13, 1944, in Portland, Oregon. Because his father was a nomadic Lutheran pastor, Walter grew up in various locations: Shelton, Washington; Chicago, Illinois; Grand Forks, North Dakota; and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He received a B.A. from Concordia Senior College, M.A. in English Literature from Miami University, and M.Div. from Christ Seminary-Seminix. Among the many diverse jobs he’s held are migrant pea-picker, ghetto youth worker, radio announcer, and English instructor. He’s been an ordained Lutheran minister since 1976, a columnist for The Lutheran since 1988, a speaker for the Lutheran Vespers radio ministry since 1994, and is currently a professor and writer-in-residence at Valparaiso University.
His body of literature is too lengthy to list in full, but some of his most popular works include The Book of the Dun Cow and its sequel, The Book of Sorrows, allegories about the age-old struggle between good and evil; The Book of God, his retelling of Scripture in novel form; Reliving the Passion, Lenten meditations on the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus; Mourning into Dancing, encouragement for the grieving; As for Me and My House, views on crafting a lasting marriage; Little Lamb, Who Made Thee?, essays and stories exploring children, teenagers, adults, and parents; and Miz Lil and the Chronicles of Grace, personal reflections on growing up as the son of a fiery pastor and serving as a preacher himself in an inner-city church. Walter’s stories, reflections, and meditations find God in everyday events, illuminating Christ’s presence in our lives. His recent books include, Saint Julian, in which a young knight's struggle to learn kindness leads to a lesson from an obstinate leper; This Earthly Pilgrimage, a compilation of stories, essays, parables, and meditations; Angels and All Children a retelling of the nativity story; and As For Me and My House, in which Wangerin suggests six tasks for crafting a lifetime relationship.
Walter and his wife, Thanne, make their home in Valparaiso, Indiana. They are the parents of four children.