Michigan authors to visit PI library

ROGERS CITY – The editor of an anthology of writings about the Upper Peninsula will visit Rogers City Monday along with two other Michigan authors.

Ron Riekki, editor of “The Way North,” will be joined by authors Josie Kearns and Alex Gubbins at the Presque Isle District Library from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. They’ll talk about their books and read selections from them, Library Director of Programming Anne Belanger said. Riekki’s anthology has been received well: its second printing has sold out, and it’s a finalist for the Foreword Book of the Year and Midwest Book Award. It also has been selected as a 2014 Michigan Notable Book.

“We’re excited, because it’s not only Ron but it’s the other authors that we have coming as well,” Belanger said.

The event is free, and refreshments will be provided by the Friends of the Rogers City Library, Belanger said.

Riekki was born and raised in the Upper Peninsula, and said he believes the area is frequently ignored, as are its rural, working class and Native American residents. He credits the lack of attention for his book’s popularity, and said it came about from his first book, “U.P.: A Novel.”

For the book, Riekki did a tour of the U.P. with another author, he said. The next year, he arranged a tour of the peninsula including 50 authors.

“We introduced all these authors to a lot of rural libraries who maybe didn’t get those kinds of opportunities before,” he said.

By the time Riekki finished the tour, he had several book deals, including one for “The Way North,” he said. Wayne State University Press suggested doing a collection of never-before-published poems and fiction about the U.P. Heagreed, and got together works from 28 authors.

Riekki will be talking about Michigan authors on Monday, he said. He believes the state has produced some of the best writing in the country.

Everyone is invited to come, Riekki said, and he urged people to support their local book stores and Michigan authors.

“The more that we can do that, the more that people can be proud about the area that we come from,” he said. “We come from a state that has an incredible, incredible history in writing.”

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at jtravis@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688. Follow Jordan on Twitter @jt_alpenanews. Read his blog, A Snowball’s Chance, at www.thealpenanews.com.