Friday, September 10, 2010

North Wind Books, Portage Library host "U.P." author, film producer Sept. 14

HANCOCK -- Ronald "R.A." Riekki, author of U.P., the best-selling novel published in 2008 by Ghost Road Press, will visit both North Wind Books in Hancock and the Portage Lake District Library in Houghton on Tuesday, Sept. 14.

Ron Riekki, author of the best-selling novel U.P. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

With Riekki will be actor and producer Steven Wiig, who is planning to shoot a movie in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula based on Riekki’s book.

Riekki will discuss and sign copies of his book from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, at North Wind Books. Riekki and Wiig will present the book U.P. and their ideas for the movie at 6:30 p.m. the same day at the Portage Lake District Library in Houghton.

Set in Marquette County in 1989, the novel is a complex tale of friendship and brutality. U.P. is the story of four teens immersed in an ugly world, one whose threat of violence is always simmering beneath the surface.

"R.A. Riekki's distinctive characters and their poignant quest for freedom is a swan song to lost youth, redefining the traditional coming-of-age story," says a description of the book at

In the novel, four boys tell four distinct narratives that converge into a harrowing and heartbreaking whole.

Riekki and Wiig, both Negaunee, Mich., natives, attended Northern Michigan University. They are making appearances throughout the Upper Peninsula to spread the word about the book and movie in a grass roots campaign to give readings and gather support. During their U.P. travels, they are also scouting filming locations and hoping to meet locals who want to act in the movie. Their promotional tour is being documented on Facebook at

Riekki has an M.F.A. in Theater Arts/Playwriting from Brandeis University, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing/Fiction from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from Western Michigan University. His work has been published widely, and he has been awarded several writing and journalism awards.

Steven Wiig was encouraged by actor, writer, and director Sean Penn to start acting and was cast in the films Into the Wild and Milk, where he became immersed in the world of filmmaking. Throughout his career he has worked on films, videos and documentaries and also worked full-time on the road and in the recording studio with the multi-Grammy-award-winning heavy metal band Metallica.

Steven Wiig, actor and producer, hopes to make a film based on Ronald Riekki's book U.P. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

Both the novel and U.P. merchandise will be available for purchase at each event.

North Wind Books is located in downtown Hancock at 435 Quincy St. For additional information about the book signing, please contact North Wind Books at 906-487-7217.

Portage Lake District Library programs are free and everyone is welcome to attend. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

1 comment:

sharon said...

The U.P. needs all the attention it can get! Thanks guys!