Walter Wangerin, Jr.

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Wangerin in July 2011

Walter Wangerin, Jr. (born February 13, 1944) is an American author and educator best known for his religious novels and children's books.


Wangerin was born in Portland, Oregon, where his father was a Lutheran pastor. He was the oldest of seven children. The family moved often, so Walter grew up in various locations including Shelton, Washington, Chicago, Illinois, Grand Forks, North Dakota, Edmonton, Canada, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Fort Wayne, Indiana. In 1968, he attained an M.A. in English literature from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. He went on to study at Concordia Seminary and Christ Seminary-Seminex, both in St. Louis, Missouri. He attained his M.Div. from the latter in 1976. He has been a professor at Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana since 1991, where he teaches literature, theology, and creative writing, and is writer-in-residence. Wangerin was honored in 2009 by being selected one of Valpo's 150 Most Influential Persons.

Wangerin is the author of more than thirty novels, numerous children's books, and a handful of plays, and he has received several awards for his short stories and essays. He has been a college professor, a radio announcer, a book reviewer, a pastor of a Lutheran church, and has also taken part in cultural ceremonies such as a Lakota Sun-Dance.

Most of his writing has been religious, primarily giving theological guidance on subjects such as marriage, meditation, parenting, and grieving. Other religious books concern the events in the Bible.

Wangerin is probably known best for his fables The Book of the Dun Cow and its sequel The Book of Sorrows. The Book of the Dun Cow won a U.S. National Book Award in the one-year category Science Fiction.[1][a]

His Letters from the Land of Cancer received the Award of Merit in the Spirituality category of the 2011 Christianity Today Book Awards.


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Religious books
  • Ragman and Other Cries of Faith (1984; 2004)
  • Miz Lil And The Chronicles Of Grace (1988)
  • Little Lamb, Who Made Thee? (1993; 2004)
  • Mourning into Dancing (1992)
  • Reliving the Passion (1992)
  • The Book of God: The Bible as a Novel (1996)
  • Orphean Passages (1996)
  • The Manger is Empty (1998)
  • Whole Prayer (1998)
  • Preparing for Jesus (1999)
  • Prayerbook For Husbands And Wives (2000)
  • As for Me and My House: Crafting a Marriage to Last (2001)
  • Paul: A Novel (2000)
  • Jesus: A Novel (2005)
  • The Crying for a Vision (2003)
  • This Earthly Pilgrimage (2003)
  • In The Days Of The Angels (2007)
  • Father and Son: Finding Freedom (2008)
  • Naomi and Her Daughters (2010)
  • Letters from the Land of Cancer (2010)
Fantasy novels
Children's books/stories
  • Bible for Children (1981; 2003)
  • Thistle (1983; 1995)
  • Potter (1985; 1994)
  • Elisabeth and the Water Troll (1991)
  • In the Beginning, There Was No Sky (1997)
  • Mary's First Christmas (1998)
  • The Bedtime Rhyme (1998)
  • Water, Come Down (1999)
  • Peter's First Easter (2000)
  • Swallowing The Golden Stone (2001)
  • Angels and All Children (2002)
  • Probity Jones And The Fear Not Angel (2005)
  • I Am My Grandpa's Enkelin (2007)
Historical fiction
  • Saint Julian (2003)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ From 1980 to 1983 in National Book Award history there were dual awards for hardcover and paperback books in many categories. Most of the paperback award-winners were reprints, including this one.


  1. ^ "National Book Awards – 1980". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-02-28. (With essay by Harold Augenbraum from the Awards 60-year anniversary blog.)

External links[edit]