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Self-Patronage: Steve & Mary Jo Hoffman in conversation

July 10 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Steve Hoffman is a perfectly comfortable middle-aged Minnesotan who has alwaysbeen desperately, pretentiously in love with France—both France itself, and theidea of France as somewhere he can be a better version of himself. To pursue thatlove, he and his family move, nearly at random, to the small, rural, scratchy-hotsouthern village of Autignac, fifty minutes from the Mediterranean, and heimmediately thinks he’s made a terrible mistake. Life here is not holding yourcigarette chest-high while walking to the café and pulling off the trick ofpretending to be Parisian, it’s getting into fights with your wife because you won’tbreak character and introduce your very American family to the locals, who cansmell you and your perfect city-French from a mile away. But through cookingwhat the local grocer tells him to cook, he feels more of this place. A neighbor leadshim into the world of winemaking, where he learns not as a pedantic oenophile,but bodily, as a grape picker and winemaker’s apprentice. Along the way, he lets goof the abstract ideas he’d held about France, discovering instead the beauty of aculture that is one with its landscape, and the unexpected rewards of beingaccepted into that culture

Steve Hoffman is a Minnesota tax preparer and food writer. When he dies, the tax-preparer-food-writer industry will die with him. He is a French speaker and shameless Francophile. His writing has won multiple awards, including the 2019 James Beard M.F.K. Fisher Distinguished Writing Award. He has been published in Food & Wine, The Washington Post, The Minneapolis StarTribune, and Artful Living magazine. His first book, A Season for That: Lost and Found in the Other Southern France, will be published in July 2024, edited by Francis Lam. It is the story of his family’s gradual (then precipitous) acceptance into a tiny Languedoc winemaking village, of his bottom-up education in Mediterranean food and wine, and of a hard-one self-acceptance in mid-life. Hoffman shares one acre on TurtleLake, in Shoreview, Minnesota, with his wife, MaryJo, their elderly and entitled puggle, roughly 80,000 honeybees, and a nesting pair of sandhill cranes who summer in the backyard.

Every day (every single day) for over a decade, Mary Jo Hoffman has made a photograph of found nature – no subject too small or too ordinary. For Hoffman, a former aeronautical engineer, this daily ritual cracked open profound revelations about the connectedness of all things, the importance of place, and her own life.

This book shares a selection of the breathtaking photographs from Hoffman’s enormous archive, accompanied by perceptive, deeply felt, and oftentimes humorous essays illuminating the insights gained through this daily creative practice. STILL features 275 of the most stunning photographs the author-artist has accumulated over thousands of consecutive days of daily shooting – a true feast for the senses.

Mary Jo Hoffman is an aeronautical engineer–turned-artist. Since beginning her artistic practice and founding the blog, STILL, she and her project have been featured in Martha Stewart Living and Better Homes & Gardens, among other publications, and she has collaborated with West Elm, Target, the United States Botanic Garden, and the Scottish National Opera.


July 10
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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Magers & Quinn Booksellers
3038 Hennepin Ave,
Minneapolis,MN55408United States
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