Nationally renowned authors and Upper Arlington residents Erin McGraw and Andrew Hudgins will read from and sign copies of their latest books tonight (Oct. 1) at 7 p.m. at the Thurber House, 77 Jefferson Ave. in downtown Columbus.

Nationally renowned authors and Upper Arlington residents Erin McGraw and Andrew Hudgins will read from and sign copies of their latest books tonight (Oct. 1) at 7 p.m. at the Thurber House, 77 Jefferson Ave. in downtown Columbus.

The joint appearance makes perfect sense, since McGraw and Hudgins share common bonds. They are both Ohio State University professors, not to mention husband and wife.

McGraw will read from her latest novel, "The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard," and Hudgins will read from two books of his poetry, "American Rendering: New and Selected Poems" and "Shut Up, You're Fine! Poems for Very, Very Bad Children."

"Shut Up, You're Fine!" is a humorous collection in which mischievous kids act out in satirical poems such as "We Buried the Cat, but the Dog Dug Her Up" and "Cousin Marbury's Marvelous Bombs."

Hudgins said he got the inspiration for the poems while browsing Internet jokes and came across one titled "Children's Books That Were Never Written."

"I wondered if you could take that kind of joke and write it in the form of those kinds of poems," Hudgins said. "I liked 'South Park' and 'Beavis and Butthead.' That's what was in my head."

"Shut Up, You're Fine!" has received critical praise. The Washington Post raved that "the surface of Hudgins's poems -- their quirky economy, the sheer music of his prosody -- are so right because he goes so deep."

With illustrations by Barry Moser, "Shut Up, You're Fine!" may seem at first glance to be intended for children, but it's actually geared toward adult readers, Hudgins related.

"There's a kind of genre of children's books that are not really for children -- they're faux children's books," he said.

In "American Rendering," which is scheduled for publication next year, Hudgins tackles the often complex and fascinating topic of American history.

"I was an English and history major in college and I've never quite gotten history out of my head," he said.

Hudgins witnessed history unfolding while attending high school in Alabama during the civil rights movement.

"At the time, we knew we were living history," he said.

A Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist, Hudgins, surprisingly, said he seldom bounces ideas off his wife. McGraw has earned her share of accolades; her story collection, "Lies of the Saints," was a New York Times Notable Book.

Hudgins said he and McGraw prefer to work solo until they have a finished product.

"I'm kind of the school that ideas that get talked about don't get written because you dissipate the need to write by talking about them," he said. "If it's a serious work, we almost always run it by each other."

Hudgins and McGraw have made numerous appearances together to share their works with readers.

"Usually she'll read her stuff and I'll read mine," he said. "It's fun to see the audience's reaction."

Hudgins said he's looking forward to the Thurber House appearance, especially since "Shut Up, You're Fine!" is a humor collection and James Thurber was one of the most accomplished humorists of all time.

"Reading a humor book at the Thurber House, what could be cooler than that?"

For tickets and more information, call (614) 464-1032 or visit www.thurberhouse.org.

Andrew

Hudgins