What teachers do in Bemidji on Sunday

My book “Overburden: Modern Life on the Iron Range” has been out for 18 months (gack, the time!) but I’ve yet to do an author event west of Grand Rapids. That sad reality ends this weekend as I make my first speaking/book appearance in the great city of Bemidji on Sunday. I’ll be the featured speaker at the Headwaters Unitarian Universalist Fellowship service at 10 a.m. with a book reading and discussion at 11:30 a.m. Both events are open to the public.

My awareness of Bemidji began as I attended public schools on the Iron Range in northern Minnesota. Many of my teachers had gone to school at Bemidji State so I began to imagine the place as some sort of foreign encampment where teachers trained like commandos before being dispatched to my school. The actual details of what Bemidji was, what it looked like and who lived there were hazy. The teachers would say something about a lake, make some veiled reference to parties, train off into how they started dating someone and WHAM they were married and teaching 8th grade at Cherry High School. Were they warning us? Promoting Bemidji State? (Go Beavers!) This was unclear and remains so.

Headwaters Unitarian Universalist Fellowship welcomes guest speaker Aaron Brown at 10am this Sunday at 522 America Ave NW in Bemidji. He will also hold a book reading at 11:30 following the service. An author, blogger, columnist and radio commentator, Brown will share excerpts from his book, “Overburden: Modern Life on the Iron Range,” which addresses questions such as: What’s it like to be a blogger in a place where most people still don’t use the internet? What do you do when you love where you’re from but see an outside world full of possibilities? How can you shape the future when the people of your town can’t stop talking about the past?

This particular talk, on account of the different audience and format, will focus more on northern Minnesota cultural changes over the period I have termed “the modern Iron Range.” Stop on by, Bemidji readers!


  1. 18 months?! Where did the time go?!! I think it’s good you’re branching out though, even to mysterious Bemidji. Next stop, Crookston?

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