The Two Books, Two Communities program, a partnership between Northern Michigan University and the Marquette and Alger County communities, has announced its 2021 community reads and associated fall events schedule. The titles are Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie, edited by Peggy Wolff, and 2021 Michigan Notable Book Award Winner Teacher/Pizza Guy, a collection of poems by Jeff Kass.
Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie is a collection featuring 30 Midwestern writers. In a meditation on comfort food, Elizabeth Berg recalls her aunt's meatloaf. Stuart Dybek takes readers on a school field trip to a slaughtering house, while Peter Sagal grapples with the ethics of paté. Parsing Cincinnati five-way chili, Robert Olmstead digresses into questions of Aztec culture. Harry Mark Petrakis reflects on owning a South Side Chicago lunchroom, while Bonnie Jo Campbell nurses a sweet tooth through a fudge recipe.
In addition to editing, Wolff wrote the book's introduction and a chapter on The Door County Fish Boil. She has written about food and food culture for publications such as the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Hartford Courant and Orlando Sentinel. She is the food editor for REALIZE Magazine.
Teacher/Pizza Guy is a collection of autobiographical poems chronicling Kass's experience teaching, directing, feeding people and treading the delicate balance of holding himself accountable to his wife and kids, his students, his customers and his own mental and physical health while working three jobs in contemporary America. He recounts his journey as an Ann Arbor high school teacher and delivery driver. Many of the ideas for the poems were initially scribbled onto the backs of pizza receipts or scratched out during free moments amidst the chaos of the school day.
Kass teaches 10th grade English and creative writing at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor. He is the founder of the Literary Arts Program at Ann Arbor's teen center, The Neutral Zone, where he was program director for 20 years. He is also the author of the award-winning short story collection Knuckleheads, the poetry collection My Beautiful Hook-Nosed Beauty Queen Strut Wave and the thriller Takedown.
Two Books, Two Communities will be hosting the following author events and related programming:
Sept. 2-Sept. 21, Battle of the Recipe Box Submissions: Submit your favorite recipe with a paragraph or two as to why it is special. The top five submissions will be voted on, and winners will be announced at a Taste Off event for the public on Saturday, Oct. 16, in Munising. Enter your recipe by Wednesday, Sept. 21 at nmu.edu/onebook/twobooks.
Sept. 7 onward, Cooking Video: Pam Roose of Inspiring Roots demonstrates how to cook Anne Dimock's Rhubarb Kuchen with Almond Meringue. View it online at nmu.edu/onebook/twobooks.
Sept. 19 at 6 p.m., Teacher/Pizza Guy poetry reading featuring Jeff Kass: At East Channel Brewery in Munising, with The Cooking Carberry's Wood Fired Pizza.
Sept. 20 at 7 p.m., Teacher/Pizza Guy poetry reading featuring Jeff Kass: At Peter White Public Library Shiras Room in Marquette.
Sept. 29 at 7 p.m., Open Mouth Open Mic: Share your writings, songs and thoughts about food. At the Ore Dock Brewing Company in Marquette.
Oct. 6 at 7 p.m., Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie virtual author readings and panel discussion: The discussion includes featured writers Bonnie Jo Campbell, Anne Dimock and Peggy Wolff. The online event link will be available at nmu.edu/onebook/twobooks.
Oct. 16 at 11 a.m., Battle of the Recipe Box Taste Off and Awards: At the Munising School Public Library.
Learn more about Two Books, Two Communities at nmu.edu/onebook/twobooks Copies of the books are available for purchase at the NMU bookstore, Snowbound Books, Falling Rock Books and Cafe in Munising and other bookstores in Marquette County. Download the free Libby or Overdrive app from Google Play, the App Store or Microsoft to access a free eBook version, if you have a library card.
For more information, contact Rebecca Tavernini at firstname.lastname@example.org or 227-1016.