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Something fishy's coming to GF

The North Dakota Playwrights Co-op has been busy fishing, but not with a rod. They've turned some of the fishing stories written by the late UND English professor and founder of the UND Writers Conference John Little into plays to be presented Oc...

Fish play
Actors (from left) Patrick Pearson, Jared Kinney, Jenny Morris and Steve Finney will present the plays the North Dakota Playwrights Co-op has adapted from fishing columns written by John Little.

The North Dakota Playwrights Co-op has been busy fishing, but not with a rod. They've turned some of the fishing stories written by the late UND English professor and founder of the UND Writers Conference John Little into plays to be presented Oct. 21 and 28.

Playwrights from the group have written eight plays based on the fishing columns Little wrote for the Grand Forks Herald in the 1980s and early '90s, a news release said. Income from performing the plays will be used to help establish the John Little Memorial Endowment at UND.

The plays will premiere with the help of actors Jared Kinney, Steve Finney, Jenny Morris and Patrick Pearson. Jeff Kinney is doing the sets.

The premiere of the collection, "Gone Fishing," set for Oct. 21 at the Blue Moose in East Grand Forks, already has sold out, but tickets remain for the Oct. 28 show.

The North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks will host the Aug. 28 performances, as well as "Fresh Fish," readings by local writers, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets will be $20 at the door.

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To find writers to adapt Little's columns for the stage, the North Dakota Playwrights Co-op had placed a notice in the Herald calling for writers. Bob Greenwade of Corvalis, Ore., had never met Little. Nevertheless, Greenwade wrote two plays based on Little stories: "The Wildest Caster" and "Opening Day at the Boat Ramp."

Adonica Schultz Aune of Grand Forks adapted a story about the lengths to which one angler goes to keep secret a sweet fishing spot. Charlotte Helgeson of East Grand Forks adapted Little's ode to Catfish in "Cat What?" Kathy Coudle-King, Grand Forks, wrote four pieces: "Muskie Mania," "Hungarian Bill the Legendary Angler," "The Big One" and "The McClusky Canal."

Adapting Little's columns was the easiest thing she's ever done, Coudle-King said in a release.

"I can't take credit for the plays because I had to do very little in order to turn them into a script," she said. "How do you top John Little's humor? You don't. The laughs are all his."

The shows will be co-sponsored by the Blue Moose, Home of Economy and the UND Department of English.

Organizers want interest from the John Little Memorial Endowment to enable the UND Writers Conference to bring a fiction writer to campus each year to honor Little's contribution to the literary life of the region, the news release said.

For 41 years, the Writers Conference, held each spring, has given the region free access to such literary stars as Truman Capote, Eudora Welty, Sherman Alexie, Louise Erdrich, Junot Diaz, Allen Ginsburg, Susan Sontag, Alice Walker and more. In 2010, participants will include comics artist Art Spiegelman, who won a Pulitzer Prize for "Maus," two volumes of comics that told his parents' story of surviving the Holocaust.

The 2010 UND Writers Conference will be March 23-27. Coudle-King is a co-director along with Crystal Alberts. For more information, go to www.undwritersconference.org/index.html/ .

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