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April 19, 2013

Dr. Matthew Batt visited the BSU campus to read from his recently published memoir, Sugarhouse: Turning the Neighborhood Crackhouse into Home Sweet Home.

Dr. Batt, a creative writing professor at St. Thomas University in St Paul, Minn., read from his memoir to an audience of staff, faculty, and students. Those gathered laughed frequently at the author’s comic take on the struggles of home repair, graduate school, and domestic dysfunction.  "I use humor to stitch normal life and the absurd," Dr. Batt said. "It was such a desperate time that I needed to save our marriage, our family, our lives. Being able to co-opt it into a book made it even more meaningful."

Bruce Machart, assistant professor of English, welcomed Batt with a warm introduction. “I have been a fan of Matthew’s work, both on and off the page, since 1997, and I learned quickly that while his fiction was always convincing, he wasn’t much of a liar,” said Professor Machart, who makes a cameo in his friend’s memoir. “If Matt was upset, you tended to know it.  If he was joyous, you knew that, too.  And so it didn’t much surprise me when he announced, some years after I met him, that we wasn't writing much fiction that he was, in fact, writing mostly essays…and it didn’t surprise me when those essays found their shape as his first book. "

Dr. Batt concluded his visit by signing copies of the memoir and chatting with students and faculty. (Story and photo by Stacy Moskos Nistendirk)

Author Matthew Batt signs a book for a BSU student.