UIS alumna Joanna Beth Tweedy, host of Quiddity Public-Radio Program on WUIS, is receiving high praise from esteemed writers for her debut novel, The Yonder Side of Sass and Texas, released this spring from Southeast Missouri University Press.
Tweedy will be reading and signing copies of her book on campus this Friday at 7:00 p.m. in the Café Annex, located on the lower level of the Public Affairs Center.
The novel’s lyrical, poetic style is highly unusual, especially for a debut work of prose. It has been receiving praise from a variety of literati—novelists, poets, reviewers, and editors alike, including Robert Hellenga, Patrick Carrington, and Elaine Fowler Palencia. It’s been called “a simmering gumbo of linguistic delicacies,” “a dance that never missteps…absolute in originality and sophistication,” and “an inventive masterpiece.”
Hellenga, best-selling author of The Sixteen Pleasures, says of Yonder Side, “The prose crackles like a splash of water on a hot skillet and there’s a surprise on every page.” Palencia calls it “High Lyrical Down-home…a novel to read twice.” And Carrington, editor of the award-winning journal Mannequin Envy, calls the novel “a rollicking ride of unexpected turns.” Of the author he writes, “a new voice that is not to be missed, one you'll surely enjoy reading as much as it does speaking to you.”
With degrees in education and English from the Universities of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and Springfield (UIS), Tweedy has taught creative writing, literature, composition and educational leadership, and has served as faculty-in-residence for the Capital Scholars Honors Program at UIS. Early versions of some of the novel’s chapters were included in her creative-writing thesis project, which was nominated for UIS’ Thesis of the Year Award by the English Department. In addition to hosting Quiddity on WUIS, Tweedy is also the founding editor of Quiddity’s companion international literary journal, housed at Benedictine University at Springfield, where she is an associate dean.
A book tour is planned this summer.