Back Road Grace

Back Road Grace is a collection of Scott Stowell's essays, memoirs and short fiction about Northern culture, wilderness treasures and the character of the inhabitants in the Minnesota Arrowhead. Several stories have been previously published or broadcast on public radio station KAXE/KBXE Northern Community Radio in Grand Rapids and Bemidji, Minnesota.

Though many of the stories derive from northern Minnesota, a chapter of Stowell's earlier years helps connect some of the influences that lured him to the region. He grew up in the suburbs of two very large cities, but then gravitated north, attracted to populations that dwindled from town to town. As a result, he's benefited from big-city amenities and perspectives, plus those with a small-town approach. He's found that per capita, small-town residents know more fellow residents than city dwellers know their community members. He speaks to that in the introduction:

"Perhaps most engaging is our own species… I'm continually impressed with how small-town folks look after each other. Commonalities override differences and their character exudes depth and humor."

Early Reviews
"Back Road Grace reads like you’re two people sitting around a woodstove sharing a warm beverage and talking about what makes the region great. The combination of Scott’s homespun storytelling and his tales from conversations with travelers to Ely and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area make for a great read."
     Will Steger
     Polar explorer
     and Ely area resident
"Scott takes his readers through the northern border country with humor, humility and an eye for the unexpected gifts of his world. These back roads lead you right to the heart of things."
     Michael Goldberg
     Producer and host of Stay Human
     KAXE/KBXE Northern Community Radio
"Back Road Grace is a lighthearted education on small-town life in northern Minnesota. Scott Stowell masterfully uses keen observation and humor to share captivating stories from the community, his personal life and the natural world."
     Amy and Dave Freeman
     National Geographic Adventurers of the Year 2014
     Authors, A Year in the Wilderness
"I read the stories from Scott Stowell’s new book Back Road Grace and felt at home instantly. I get it. Life up north is different from city life. He mentions self-reliance, a word familiar to those who live almost-off-grid or completely off. Weather extremes, fire, thousands of wilderness lakes, and abundant wildlife shape a particular lifestyle. To survive, one must reinvent because there is no norm. Nature is the boss...Scott reminds us how the little things are profoundly significant in defining the quiet pleasures deep inside each one of us. It’s a fine read, tough to put down."
     Layne Kennedy
     Worldwide magazine assignment photographer
     Author, Beyond the Light: The Stories Behind The Photographs
Retail Outlets
If you're in the Minnesota Arrowhead, copies of Back Road Grace are also available at several retail outlets.
In Ely:
In Duluth: