New Jersey pride runs deep. So does our desire to share it with anybody who will listen—sometimes even more so when they would rather not hear it.
Monmouth County native Kerri Sullivan understands this unique state pride is just part of the Jersey experience. It’s something she wanted to capture in her new anthology, New Jersey Fan Club (Rutgers University Press), out June 17. The book’s eclectic collection of essays, comics, illustrations, photographs, and even a recipe comes from more than 60 contributors.
“From the writing to the contributors to the place that they’re from or that they’re writing about, I wanted to cover as much ground as possible,” says Sullivan, who works as a public librarian in Somerset County. Familiar places such as the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, Cape May, Tastee Sub Shop and Asbury Lanes make appearances. So do the state’s little-known historical signs and spotted salamander population.
The idea for the anthology grew out of Sullivan’s work overseeing the @jerseycollective Instagram account, a collaborative project in which a different photographer takes over each week, posting photos and stories from around the state. She started the account in 2014 while attending graduate school at Rutgers.
Since its founding, the Jersey Collective account has amassed more than 31,000 followers, many of whom got in touch when Sullivan put out an open call for submissions for what would eventually become the new collection. She got over 200 submissions, but had to narrow down the content to fit the limited space.
Now that in-person events have returned, Sullivan is looking forward to celebrating the release of the New Jersey Fan Club anthology, which she quietly worked on during the pandemic. She is set to read with various contributors around the state in June. Visit kerrisullivan.com for an up-to-date events calendar.
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