Thursday, March 08, 2007

March 22 • 7pm • Finn McCool's • The Father of All Things

Next Thursday, University Book Store welcomes writer Tom Bissell. We've had a lot of events over the years, but I've never been as excited as I am about this one.

Tom is from Escanaba, Michigan, a town in the Upper Peninsula just about nine miles South of my hometown, Gladstone, Michigan. A few years ago, my mother got a job working for his father. She spoke to Tom on the phone a few times, and once mentioned to him that her son was "sort of a writer, too." Tom was kind enough to humor my dear, wonderful mother, and even said I should drop him a line some time.

I did. Heck, I even sent him a story. Tom took some time with it, made some suggestions—but, most of all, he took the whole thing seriously.

A couple of months later, Tom's first book arrived in stores, and I got a chance to see what he could do with a long piece of prose. (Up to that point, I'd read a couple of short stories and some articles for Harper's.) And...

Well, I've been deeply embarrassed by the fact that I forced him to endure my amateurish scribblings ever since.

Tom is a phenomenal writer, and, as my experience suggests, an incredibly generous person. His work is deeply ambitious, insightful, smart, and damn funny when the opportunity allows. And he's not just an amazing travel writer. His fiction is impressive as well.

We've partnering with Counterbalance Arts to host Tom at Finn MacCool's in the U District, and you won't find a better way to spend a Thursday night.


Check out this very positive Seattle Times review of Tom's book for a less personally invested perspective.

Or this one from the New York Times.

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