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Riekki's U.P. Holiday Royalties to Go to National MS Society

Author: R.A. Riekki

Published: 2010-11-17 : (Rev. 2010-11-18)

Synopsis and Key Points:

Riekkis novel has remarkably been one of Ghost Road Press top ten bestselling books for over 90 weeks.

Main Digest

In honor of the Christmas season, novelist R.A Riekki will be donating all of the royalties he receives for his novel U.P. for the quarter that runs throughout this year's holidays to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Riekki's novel has remarkably been one of Ghost Road Press's top ten bestselling books for over 90 weeks, appearing continuously on their bestseller list since February 2009. (See Ghost Road Press's web page,, for their book sales rankings and for information on purchasing the book.) Actor Steven Wiig (Into the Wild, Milk) of Bay area production company Two Eyes Productions has been working as a producer to turn the novel into a motion picture. The novel is about four teenage boys growing up in Negaunee and Ishpeming, Michigan. One of the four main characters, J, has cerebral palsy and his struggle with it is central to the storyline. Another character in the novel has multiple sclerosis and when J witnesses two boys brutally throw the student with MS down a staircase it triggers a postmodern revenge plot that is not typical of After-School Special representations of teens with disabilities.

Riekki's mother, Karen Riekki, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and his cousin, Todd Kauppinen, has cerebral palsy. Riekki had several discussions with Kauppinen and did independent research on CP as he was writing the novel while living in Charlottesville in preparation for his MFA in Fiction at the University of Virginia. U.P. was Riekki's MFA thesis at the university and the book went on to be nominated by National Book Award winner John Casey for the Sewanee Writers' Series. Ghost Road Press became interested in the novel after a chapter featuring J's cerebral palsy was published by editor John Bullock in the New Ohio Review.

One of Riekki's intents in writing the novel was to shine a light on disabilities for teenagers in America. The success in book sales is now allowing him to help in another way, through a charitable donation in alignment with book sales for this year's holidays.

Riekki's novel was previously featured in Disabled World in an article entitled "U.P. by R.A. Riekki was recently published on Ghost Road Press. The main character in the novel has cerebral palsy." That story can be read at

A thorough review of the novel is in UVa's literary publication Meridian written by Kevin Alladrice,

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