Cat Pleska, author of Riding on Comets: A Memoir, and Marie Manilla, author of The Patron Saint of Ugly and Still Life with Plums, will read from and discuss their work at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24, at Arts Mon in Morgantown.
Cat Pleska’s memoir Riding on Comets is the true story of an only child growing up in a working-class family during the 1950s and ‘60s. As the family storyteller, Pleska whispers and shouts about her life growing up around savvy, strong women and hard-working, hard-drinking men. Unlike many family stories set within Appalachia, this story provides an uncommon glimpse into this region: not coal, but an aluminum plant; not hollers, but small-town America; not hillbillies, but a hard-working family with traditional values.
Diana Hume George, author of The Lonely Other: A Woman Watching America proclaims she “could read Cat Pleska’s words forever, and still want more.” Lisa Knopp, author of What the River Carries: Encounters with the Mississippi, Missouri, and Platte calls Riding on Comets “fresh, candid, gently humorous, tautly lyrical, and deeply moving,” while Janice Gary, author of Short Leash: A Memoir of Dog Walking and Deliverance, declares it “a joy to read.”
In Marie Manilla’s The Patron Saint of Ugly (Mariner Books, 2014) Garnet Ferrari, born in Sweetwater, West Virginia, with a mop of flaming red hair and a map of the world rendered in port-wine stains on every surface of her body, is used to being an outcast. With her sharp tongue, she has always known how to defend herself against bullies and aggressors, but she finds she is less adept at fending off the pilgrims who have set up a veritable tent city outside her hilltop home, convinced that she is Saint Garnet, healer of skin ailments and maker of miracles.
Entertainment Weekly calls this book “wildly imaginative.” Lelia Taylor of Buried Under Books says, “I have read 2014’s Best Novel and it is The Patron Saint of Ugly.” Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish, “With The Patron Saint of Ugly, Marie Manilla has written more than a novel: she’s written what we used to call a tale.”
Manilla is also the author of Still Life with Plums (WVU Press, 2010), a vibrant collection of short stories that weaves together the outwardly distant lives of several strangers.
Morgantown: Wednesday, June 24, 2014 6:30 p.m.
Morgantown Writers Group and WVU Press present Cat Pleska and Marie Manilla
Arts Monongahela: 201 High Street, Morgantown, WV 26501
Refreshments at 6:30 p.m. Readings starts at 7 p.m.
Morgantown Writers has co-hosted multiple literary events in cooperation with the WVU Press. The Morgantown Writers Group is a long-established group of writers since its founding in 1994. The writers meet for discussions about writing, publishing and literary critique of manuscripts at the Morgantown Public Library on Spruce Street. Meetings attract a dozen of the 78 writers who are in the north central region of West Virginia Writers. Critique workshops are twice a month on the second and fourth Tuesdays, although the schedule may vary in summer and due to weather. Contact George M. Lies at email@example.com for more information.
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