Bestselling Authors Rita Mae Brown and Wade Rouse at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts September 5, 2019

 New York Times bestselling author and cult hero Rita Mae Brown joins her friend Wade Rouse, author of the #1 bestselling book in Michigan, at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts (SCA) on Thursday, September 5, 2019. Brown and Rouse host a special evening of tales from the road and personal stories, with proceeds from the event supporting the SCA’s free creative children’s programming.

Tickets for “An Iconic Evening with Rita Mae Brown & Wade Rouse” include a $100 VIP ticket (exclusive meet & greet with the authors plus a copy of Rouse’s latest novel The Summer Cottage) and $50 for individuals and can be purchased at the SCA box office or online at

Time magazine wrote, “No one could ever accuse Rita Mae Brown of having lived a boring life.”

A literary icon, groundbreaking social and animal rights activist, working farmer, poet and Master of Foxhounds, Brown is also the author of countless novels and memoirs, including Rubyfruit Jungle, which single-handedly helped kick-start the modern-gay lit movement; the Sneaky Pie Brown series; the Sister Jane series; the Runnymede novels, including Six of One and Cakewalk; and the Mags Rogers mysteries. She is also an Emmy-nominated screenwriter and in 2015, Brown received the Pioneer Award at the 27th Lambda Literary Awards.

“We are thrilled to welcome Rita Mae to Saugatuck,” said SCA Executive Director Kristin Armstrong. “Wade and Rita Mae met years ago at an event in Charleston, at which she dubbed him ‘a modern-day Tallulah Bankhead’. Fortunately for us, they’ve remained friends and Rita Mae accepted Wade’s invitation to join him in for this event.”

Armstrong said the evening is made even more special by the fact that the authors are donating all proceeds from the event to the SCA’s cost-free children’s programming. “Both Wade and Rita Mae have a passion for supporting young creatives and ensuring that everyone has access to creativity. We’re honored that they’re leveraging their success to invest in things like our visiting artist series, our Children’s Film Festival, and our Growing Young Artists project-based learning programming.”

Rouse is the internationally bestselling author of nine books, including his latest novel, The Summer Cottage, which is set in Saugatuck, Michigan has been a national bestseller and remains the #1 bestselling book in Michigan. To date, Rouse’s novels, written under the pen name Viola Shipman, have been translated into nearly 20 languages, selected as a Michigan Notable Book and resonated with readers around the world. His next novel, The Heirloom Garden, will publish from HarperCollins/Graydon House in April 2020.

Rouse’s books have been selected multiple times as “Must-Reads” by NBC’s Today Show, featured in the New York Times and on Chelsea Lately and chosen three times as Indie Next Picks by the nation’s independent booksellers. His writing has appeared in a diverse range of publications and media, including Coastal Living, Time, All Things Considered, People, Good Housekeeping, Salon, The Washington Post, Writer’s Digest and Publisher’s Weekly.

Also a noted humorist of four memoirs, Rouse was a finalist for the Goodreads Choice Awards in Humor (he lost to Tina Fey) and was named by Writer’s Digest as “The #2 Writer, Dead or Alive, We’d Like to Have Drinks With” (he was sandwiched between Ernest Hemingway and Hunter Thompson). His memoirs include America’s Boy, At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream, Confessions of A Prep School Mommy Handler and It’s All Relative.

Brown has long been an outspoken advocate and trailblazer. She resigned in January 1970 from the National Organization for Women over Betty Friedan’s anti-gay remarks and NOW’s attempts to distance itself from lesbian organizations. NOW was so worried about the threat of lesbianism that Brown believed that “lesbian” was “the one word that could cause the Executive Committee a collective heart attack.” She played a leading role in the “Lavender Menace” zap of the Second Congress to Unite Women on May 1, 1970, which protested Friedan’s remarks and the exclusion of lesbians from the women’s movement. Brown and other lesbians from the Gay Liberation Front created The Woman-Identified Woman, which was distributed at the zap. The group that wrote the manifesto then went on to become the Radicalesbians.

She even became a tabloid star, living briefly with American author, screenwriter and actor Fannie Flagg, whom she met at a party hosted by Marlo Thomas. In 1979, Brown met and fell in love with tennis champion Martina Navratilova. In 1980, they bought a horse farm in Charlottesville, Virginia, where they lived together until their breakup, Brown still lives on the estate with her beloved cats, dogs, hounds and horses.

The authors’ books will be available for purchase along with a book signing opportunity at the event.

The evening is sponsored by Renee Zita, George Stoutin of Edward Jones, Jennifer & Mike DeWaard, Wade Rouse & Gary Edwards, and Coast 236|Chef Mindy Trafman.

Tickets are available at, at the box office at 400 Culver Street in Saugatuck, MI, or by phone at 269-857-2399. Our facility is handicapped accessible and our theater has a hearing loop system.

For additional information please contact Scott Meivogel at 269-857-2399 ex 126, or email 

The Saugatuck Center for the Arts is dedicated to creating a vibrant arts community in West Michigan by hosting professional theater, exhibitions, films, concerts and educational programming year-round. Less than one hour from Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and South Haven, the SCA will serve 30,000 children, families and adults during 2019.