Southeast Missouri State University Press

The Yonder Side of Sass and Texas

Joanna Beth Tweedy

Publication: 2009
Pages: 328

Raised deep in the Shawnee Hills amid hogback bluffs, a roundabout river, and unending family, two divergent sisters share a colorful journey: first through childhood in a place both blessed and cursed by the hybrid footprints of the Appalachia and Ozark regions surrounding it, and then into the world beyond, compelled by their shared wanderlust. Arkansas (Sass) and Texas MacTerptin gradually understand that the sheltered bluffs of their youth are vastly removed from the broad ground beyond, and they find themselves on a truly foreign journey, separated from familiarity by an ocean and realizing amid their travels the depth of native soil all over again.

Joanna Beth Tweedy’s combination of both rural-homeland and poetic language will surprise and delight you—as will the stories of two unforgettable sisters and their backwoods clan.

“Joanna Beth Tweedy has conjured up a world as familiar as childhood memories and as strange as the Sahara. The prose crackles like a splash of water on a hot skillet and there’s a surprise on every page.” Robert Hellenga

“A simmering gumbo of linguistic delicacies: intimate sister-talk, Catholic liturgy, down-home drawling, and even Irish brogue. The result is an inventive masterpiece that will magically transport the reader from Southern Illinois to the Sahara.” Dan Guillory

“The intertwined lives of sisters ‘Sass’ and Texas form the heart of this unusual debut novel. Told by a variety of small-town characters in a High Lyrical Down-home style, this is a novel to read twice.” Elaine Fowler Palencia

“Tweedy has created a poetic pathway into her first novel. The lyric prose is a dance that never missteps across twenty-five tales all absolute in originality and sophistication.” Amy Sayre-Roberts

“Joanna Beth Tweedy takes you on a rollicking ride of unexpected turns. In this book you’ll find a new voice that is not to be missed, one you’ll surely enjoy reading as much as it does speaking to you.” Patrick Carrington


For information on booksignings and readings by the author, or to contact her to schedule an event, please visit her website

Joanna Beth Tweedy is the founding editor and host of Quiddity International Literary Journal and Public-Radio Program at Benedictine University in partnership with Illinois Public Radio’s hub-station, WUIS, NPR member and PRI affiliate. Her poetry and fiction have been published in literary journals and anthologies and have received honors from Glimmer Train, the Southern Women Writers Conference, Alsop Review, New Millennium Writing, the Ray Bradbury Creative Writing Contest, and Long Story Short.

Joanna Beth has taught creative writing, literature, and educational leadership, and has served as faculty-in-residence for the Capital Scholars Honors Program at UIS. She is presently an associate dean of academic affairs at Benedictine University at Springfield.

Trade Paperback, $19.00
ISBN: 978-0-9798714-6-7