Author Event: A reading and conversation with Mimi Herman, Kerri Schlottman and Susan Reinhardt

  • Dates: May 6, 2023
  • Venue: Page 158 Books
  • Location: Wake Forest
  • Address: 415 Brooks St., Wake Forest, NC 27587
  • Times: 1pm
  • Admission: Free


Page 158 Books is excited to welcome authors Mimi Herman, Susan Reinhardt and Kerri Schlottman for a reading and conversation about their newest novels. 

Mimi Herman's debut novel, The Kudzu Queen, brings to life 15-year-old Mattie Lee Watson, a heroine as sharp, spunky, and courageous as Scout Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. In THE KUDZU QUEEN, Herman introduces James T. Cullowee, the self-proclaimed “Kudzu King” who arrives in 15-year-old Mattie’s hometown in Cooper County, North Carolina in 1941 to spread the gospel of kudzu—claiming that it will improve the soil, feed cattle at almost no cost, and even cure headaches. As Cullowee sets out to sell Cooper County on the future of kudzu, organizing a countywide festival capped off by the crowning of the Kudzu Queen, Mattie sets her sights on winning both the crown and Cullowee. But as Mattie, her generous but unassuming family, and her peers quickly learn, Cullowee—like the kudzu he promotes—has a dark and predatory side. And Mattie, an irresistible (and mostly honest) narrator, devises a plan to bring Cullowee down. As Mattie grapples with racial inequities and class barriers, the unevenness of first love, and a tragedy that befalls her best friend, all under the watchful eyes of the Kudzu King and those training her to be the Kudzu Queen, she is forced to reckon with what’s right and how far to push back against what isn’t.

Mimi Herman is a Kennedy Center teaching artist, director of the United Arts Council Arts Integration Institute and co-director of Writeaways writing workshops in France, Italy, Ireland, New Mexico and online. She has taught in the Masters of Education programs at Lesley University, served as the 2017 North Carolina Piedmont Laureate, and been an associate editor for Teaching Artist Journal.  

Herman holds a BA from the University of North Carolina and an MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson. She is the author of A Field Guide to Human Emotions, Logophilia and The Art of Learning. Her writing has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Shenandoah, Crab Orchard Review, The Hollins Critic, Prime Number Magazine and other journals. She has performed her writing at venues ranging from Why There Are Words in Sausalito to Symphony Space in New York City. 

An atmospheric debut novel that spans place and time, Kerri Schlottman’s TELL ME ONE THING examines power, privilege, and the sacrifices one is willing to make to succeed. Against the backdrop of a rural Pennsylvania trailer park, and the complicated world of Manhattan during the AIDS epidemic, it delves into New York City’s free-for-all grittiness while exposing a neglected slice of the struggling rust belt, traversing decades from the 1980s up to present day. Outside a Pennsylvania motel, nine-year-old Lulu smokes a cigarette while sitting on the lap of a trucker. Recent art grad Quinn is passing through town and captures it. The photograph, later titled “Lulu & the Trucker,” launches Quinn’s career, escalating her from a starving artist to a renowned photographer. In a parallel life, Lulu struggles to survive a volatile home, growing up too quickly in an environment wrought with drug abuse and her mother’s prostitution.
Decades later, when Quinn has a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of Art and “Lulu & the Trucker” has sold at auction for a record-breaking amount, Lulu is surprised to find the troubling image of her young self in the newspaper. She attends an artist talk for the exhibition with one question in mind for Quinn: Why didn’t you help me all those years ago?

Kerri Schlottman is a Detroiter turned New Yorker who works to support artists, performers, and writers in creating new projects. Her fiction and essays have appeared in The Dillydoun Review, Belle Ombre, Women Writers Women’s Books, Muse Apprentice Guild, and The Furnace. She placed second in the Dillydoun International Fiction Prize, has been longlisted for the Dzanc Books Prize for Fiction, and was a 2021 University of New Orleans Press Lab Prize semifinalist.

From the Independent Publisher Book Awards winner of Best Southern Fiction, humorist Susan Reinhardt, comes The Beautiful Misfits,  a heartfelt tale of a woman determined to help her son after an opioid addiction takes over his life. When an overwhelmed Atlanta news anchor accidentally spills her son’s struggles with addiction on air like a Baptist at altar call, she destroys her career, alienates her son, and ends up selling makeup at a mall with other fallen, disgraced celebs. Retreating to the North Carolina mountains, she’s ready to risk everything, taking a chance on a man from her past whose seemingly outlandish rehab center may be her last chance to repair her and her son’s strained relationship. Perfect for fans of Mary Kay Andrews, Marian Keys, and Kristin Hannah, this heart-wrenching novel about a mother’s unflinching love for her son masterfully weaves heartbreak with humor, exploring what it’s like for a woman to walk the almost indistinguishable lines between loving and enabling, letting go and holding fast.

Susan Reinhardt is a best-selling author known for her gift of taking serious topics and infusing them with humor and heart. She is especially praised for creating casts of unforgettable, quirky characters who stay in readers’ minds long after the final page. Reinhardt’s books vary from book-club women’s fiction to romantic comedies and romantic suspense for the over-thirty crowd. Her debut novel, “Chimes From a Cracked Southern Belle,” won Best Regional Fiction in the Independent Publishers Book Awards international contest and was a top summer reading pick and a book-club favorite.