Official Author Website


Author Craig Nagel

Craig Nagel


For the past thirty years readers of the Lake Country Echo in north-central Minnesota have enjoyed the bi-weekly column by Craig Nagel called “The Cracker Barrel.”

His essays have been photocopied and sent to friends, cut out and taped to the wall or stuck on the refrigerator door, read aloud at various meetings, reprinted in area newsletters and, on occasion, praised or damned in letters to the editor.

Introducing Craig Nagel’s New Novel:  “Fred’s Way”


Fred's Way cover

Fred’s Way is a coming-of-age novel about a young man torn between going off to college to become an ordained Lutheran pastor or staying home in Chicago to marry his high school sweetheart. It resonates with the agony of someone trying desperately—and often comically—to find his role in a society that refuses to fit his innocent expectations.


The central character, Fred Hansen, is at root a mystic, alive to the wonder and glory of life. Like a latter-day Don Quixote, he’s never quite in synch with what others call reality…


Read More

What Folks Are Saying

More Great Books By Author, Craig Nagel



Play Your Own Tune

Posted by on Feb 3, 2017 in Musings | 0 comments

Play Your Own Tune

Recently I had the honor of addressing a roomful of people interested in writing. As part of the address, I talked about the novelist Frederick Manfred, an excerpt of which follows. It’s been several years since Frederick Manfred died, and I for one still mourn his passing. Author of the classic Lord Grizzly and 31 other novels, Manfred was a Minnesota legend. In his youth he moved to New York City with dreams of literary fame and fortune. The wisdom of the time said you had to live in the Big Apple in order to succeed. But Manfred...

read more

Don’t They Know?

Posted by on Dec 28, 2015 in Musings | 1 comment

Don’t They Know?

Some months ago grandson Jack, then 7, asked me to tell him something about “the old days.” When I asked him what he meant by that, he said, “You know. Something old-fashioned. When things were different than they are now.” Casting about for a recollection that might fit the bill, I hit upon the winter a friend and I spent horse logging, cutting firewood off a Potlatch permit and skidding the trees with a horse named Maude, a Belgian mare that weighed some 1500 pounds. Jack listened, spellbound, as I described the snarl of the chainsaws and...

read more

Character and Fate

Posted by on Nov 17, 2015 in Musings | 0 comments

Character and Fate

When I was a callow young fellow and knew a lot more than I know now, someone told me that character and fate were pretty much the same thing. Instead of fate crashing down on you from the outside, it supposedly grew from within the seeds of your own character. Naturally, I scoffed at that. What young person wouldn’t? It seemed absurd. Fate was something that befell you; good or bad, it simply happened, like getting the mumps or winning a lottery. But I have come to change my view, and find myself increasingly in sympathy with the...

read more
See All Posts