ALTOONA, Pa. — Steve Sherrill, professor of English and integrative arts at Penn State Altoona, will read from his new nonfiction book at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 24, in the Titelman Study of the Misciagna Family Center for Performing Arts. The reading will kick off the fall Hard Freight Café open mic event.
According to Sherrill, “Motorcycles, Minotaurs, and Banjos: A Modest Odyssey” is about his motorcycle ride down the spine of Appalachia to play and sing at the graves of his dead banjo heroes. The book is about making a life about making work. It’s about outsiders, interlopers, class migrants, motorcycles, myths of all sorts, death, decisions, awakening, creative process, and growth through risk-taking. It’s a book about ghosts, music, writing and not writing.
Writer Melissa Holbrook Pierson describes the book as “funny, sharp, melancholic yet finally triumphant” and says that it is “unlike any work of literature you will ever read.” Elizabeth Kadetsky says the book “sits on the shelf among the masters of the open road — Jack Kerouac, Cheryl Strayed, and Robert Persig.”
Sherrill’s previous books include five novels and a collection of poems. After dropping out of high school in 10th grade, he earned a welding diploma from a community college and eventually received his master of fine arts degree in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. In addition to writing, he is a musician and a painter.
Sherrill will sign copies of the book, which will be available for purchase. The reading will be followed immediately by the open mic portion of the evening. Sponsored by the English program and the Division of Arts and Humanities, the event is free and open to the public.