Interview w/RJS: New London Author Shares a Reading from His New Book

Lovely article by Christy Wood for Patch.com on the premiere reading of the Nasruddin book


Ron Suresha at the Bean & Leaf, reading from his new collection of stories. Credit Christy Wood

New London Author Shares a Reading from His New Book

Ron Suresha Reads Persian Folk Tales at the Bean & Leaf on Sunday

In the aftermath of the weekend’s snowstorm, New Londoners gathered at the Bean and Leaf on Sunday to listen to local author Ron Suresha read stories from his collection The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin.  Nasruddin has been a popular folk hero in the Middle East for over 800 years; Suresha collected more than 350 stories featuring Nasruddin to include in his anthology, seeking to introduce the timeless folk hero and his humorous tales to a new, American audience.

Suresha is a native of Detroit, but has lived in New London for six years.  He studied creative writing at the University of Michigan and spent much of his adult life working in publishing.  Fifteen years ago Suresha decided that he wanted to collect the stories of Mullah Nasruddin and incorporate them in a modern, vernacular English text.

“The English text I found of the stories was written in the 1950s.  The language was imperial and stodgy,” says Suresha.  “I decided to do my own version.”

Over the following years Suresha read Nasruddin stories in Turkish, Hebrew, French, Spanish and German.  He compared dozens of texts to compile his own version, choosing 350 of the most popular stories and jokes for his new English translation.

Suresha has been a lifelong devotee of Mullah Nasruddin.  His mother, who is Israeli, told him the stories when he was a child, piquing Suresha’s interest in the ancient “wise fool.”

He spent much of his time writing and collecting the stories in local coffee shops, including the Bean and Leaf and Muddy Waters.  “I have my own home office,” said Suresha.  “But it would get kind of lonely, so I would go out and write elsewhere.”

The cover illustrator of The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin is also a local New Londoner, Sgott MacKenzie.

After the reading, attendees were treated to cake and given the opportunity to buy signed copies of the book.

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin is available through Lethe Press, and can be downloaded to electronic book formats.  Suresha also maintains a Nasruddin website: www.mullahnasruddin.com, where new stories are posted regularly and links to other Nasruddin sites are provided.

Author: Ron Suresha

Ron Jackson Suresha is an editor, anthologist, and writer. He is considered an authority on emergent queer masculinities, in particular the subcultures of gay and bi male Bears and of male bisexuality. For Ron's service to the bear community, he was named "Bear of the Year" 2008. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Suresha attended the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, 1976-8), where he studied creative writing, and Vista College (Berkeley, Cal., 1989-92), where he studied American Sign Language. For more than two decades, he has worked as a freelance proofreader for trade book publishers such as Shambhala Publications. He was married in October 2004 to Rocco Russo. He is also a licensed Justice of the Peace in Connecticut, an ordained minister, ULC, and a member of the New London Green Party. Nonfiction works include Bears on Bears: Interviews & Discussions; Bi Men: Coming Out (coeditor, with Pete Chvany); Bisexual Perspectives on the Life and Work of Alfred C. Kinsey (editor). His latest book is The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin: Stories, jests, and donkey tales of the beloved Persian folk hero, published by Lethe Press.