MARQUETTE - The opening event of the 2011 U.P. Book Tour was Thursday, but those who missed the kickoff have many other opportunities to get in on one of the biggest literary events ever held in the Upper Peninsula.
Or as organizer Ron Riekki puts it: 60+ Writers, 50+ Events, 30+ Days, 20+ U.P. Cities.
Riekki, author of the novel "U.P.", has brought together authors like Steve Hamilton and Lisa Cerasoli Weaver, poets including Catie Rosemurgy and Beverly Matherene and screenwriter John Carr, for a tour bringing creators and works to towns around the peninsula for literary discussion.
Peter White Public Library held the U.P. Book Tour Thursday night in the community room. Judges from the panel picked out their favorite U.P book, Michigan book and Michigan author to talk about them and explain why they like them. Panel members the left are Austin Hummell from NMU, Roxanne Gay from PANK Magazine, Lisa Cerasoli-Weaver, host, Nancy Dwyer from Falling Rock Cafe and Bookstore, Dianne Patrick from Snowbound Books and Cathy Seblonka from PWPL. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
Tyler Tichelaar, a fiction writer from Marquette, is thrilled to be part of the tour.
"Upper Michigan has long deserved wider attention for its diverse and rich culture and atmosphere," Tichelaar said. "Everything exists here to make great fiction, from its history, to its powerful forces of nature, its isolation from the rest of the country, and the strength of its people. I wish to support all efforts to treat it as literature."
Tichelaar, whose biography lists him as a seventh generation Marquette resident, spent thousands of hours researching and writing The Marquette Trilogy: "Iron Pioneers," "The Queen City," and "Superior Heritage."
"As an author of Upper Michigan literature, I welcome fresh voices and differing points of view about the influence this area has upon people and how that influence is shaped into literature," he said. "While Ron Riekki and I write very different kinds of fiction, both add to a greater understanding of how the U.P. shapes those who live here and I wholeheartedly support his efforts to promote our area to a wider audience."
Tichelaar, who has a doctorate in literature from Western Michigan University, as well as bachelor and master's degrees from Northern Michigan University, will be part of an appearance at Peter White Library in Marquette Thursday.
"Some authors see only the comedy in the Upper Peninsula, others romanticize it for its natural beauty," Tichelaar said. "Some focus on its rich history, while others feel its location and culture are stifling. This often 'love-hate' relationship we have with the Upper Peninsula makes it rich for fiction writers, and I am excited to be part of an even that offers multiple visions of the Upper Peninsula through the writings of many U.P. authors."
Tichelaar, who has lectured on writing and literature at Clemson University, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of London, also will serve as host of a authors panel on July 13 at Peter White Public Library as well.
The tour will continue through June and July: To learn more about the participants, visit rariekki.webs.com/apps/blog/.
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.