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Author Batt to visit Flagler to read from "Do It Yourself" memoir

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Matt Batt

Author Matt Batt will visit Flagler College to discuss writing on Jan. 30.

Jan. 9, 2014

On Jan. 30, author Matt Batt will visit Flagler College as part of the Writers-in-Residence program to discuss writing and to share excerpts from his memoir "Sugarhouse: Turning the Neighborhood Crack House into our Home Sweet Home."

"Sugarhouse" recounts an experience many St. Augustine residents may find familiar: it is an improbably funny account of the purchase and restoration of an old fixer-upper of a home. In Batt's memoir, the restoration process saves a young marriage, to boot.

"The house, from what I can see, is disgusting," Batt writes in "Sugarhouse," remembering the first time he saw his soon-to-be-home. "If this is going to be The House, I think, it's going to start out like Cinderella's story wherein a lot of painful time will be spent on our hands and knees at the behest of a cruel stepmother, waiting for something magical to happen with wands, fairies, root vegetables and rodents."

Batt is a graduate of Ohio State's MFA program and the University of Utah's Ph.D program in English and creative writing. His work has appeared in "Tin House," "The Huffington Post," "Mid-American Review," and many other journals. Batt teaches at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he lives with his wife and son.

He's looking forward, he said, to taking leave of Minnesota in the throes of winter to make his way to St. Augustine. "It's a real privilege to visit other schools and to get to know other students," he said. "Plus," he added, laughing, "sometimes people think you've come all this way, so maybe you have something intriguing to say. It's one of those things. Even Jesus couldn't teach in his own town."

The reading and discussion will take place on Thursday, January 30 at 7 p.m. in the Flagler Room of historic Ponce Hall. The event is free, and all are welcome to attend.

If you are a person with a disability and need reasonable accommodations, please contact Lynn Francisco at 904-819-6460. Sign Language Interpreters are available upon request with a minimum of three days' notice. Call (904) 819-6339 or visit for more information.