Walter Wangerin, Jr. (born February 13, 1944) is an award-winning 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. The family moved often. Wangerin Jr., the oldest of seven children, 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.
Author of over thirty novels, numerous children's books, a handful of plays, he also holds many 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.
The bulk of his writing consists of religious books, giving theological guidance on subjects such as marriage, meditation, parenting, and grieving. The other half of his religious titles are books regarding the events in the Bible. Apart from these writings, Wangerin Jr. is probably most famous for his fables/allegories The Book of the Dun Cow, which won the 1980 National Book Award for science fiction, and its sequel The Book of Sorrows.