Read About My Book
Mesob Across America:
Ethiopian Food in the U.S.A.


Here's a Guide to Finding
Ethiopian Restaurants

Visit My
Ethiopian Food Blog

Harry Kloman

434 William Pitt Union
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

kloman@pitt.edu

Read The Pitt News Daily

Go to the
Pulitzer Prize
Thumbnails Project

Go to the
Gore Vidal Index

Go to
All About Tej


Welcome to my Homepage at the University of Pittsburgh, where I'm the news adviser to the daily student newspaper, The Pitt News, and where I teach journalism classes in the English Department.

I also am the book review editor for Film Criticism, a scholarly film journal published by my undergraduate alma mater, Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa.

My book Mesob Across America: Ethiopian Food in the U.S.A. (pictured at right) explores all aspects of this wonderful cuisine, from its origins and history to the many restaurants in America that serve it today. You can preview the chapters of the book at a website I've created, and the website also includes a link to my site that lists every Ethiopian restaurant in the country, along with links to Ethiopian markets, where you can buy the things you need to make Ethiopian food and honey wine at home.

You can buy a copy of Mesob Across America from Amazon.com, from Barnes & Noble online, or from my publisher, iUniverse. I've created this promotional video about the book, and Mike Sula, a former student of mine who now writes about food for The Chicago Reader, blogged about the book. He also mentioned me in a piece he wrote about an interesting Ethiopian restaurant in Chicago. My own newspaper also published a squib about it, and in July 2011, I wrote a story for the Los Angeles Times about the Ethiopian love of raw meat. In 2012, I chatted with a writer from San Diego City Paper, who included me in his story about tej. And in 2013, I shared a few thoughts with a CNN reporter for a story about African wines.

Finally, to keep writing about Ethiopian food, I've created an Ethiopian food blog, although as you'll see, it's more journalistic than bloggy. If there's a topic you'd like me to discuss, or if you have anecdotes to share about the cuisine, please be in touch.

In addition, I write movie reviews for City Paper, Pittsburgh's independent weekly newspaper. You can read this week's film reviews if you like, where one of mine should be among them, or you can enter my name in the search window on the archive page and find dozens of my past reviews. You can also read my list of the best movies of a few previous years. And here's my movie pick of the week, although please forgive me if I forget to change it every week. I'll try to remember, but I'm making no promises. Most of the picks will be out of theaters, so you'll have to rent them. I've even shared a thought or two with USA Today about the movies, and with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about teaching.


Read about my book: Mesob Across America: Ethiopian Food in the U.S.A.

Before going to work for City Paper, I wrote reviews for 14 years for In Pittsburgh Weekly. On Sept. 26, 2001, City Paper bought In Pittsburgh Weekly, then closed it and hired much of its staff. We lost the on-line In Pittsburgh archives in the process, but I've kept a selection of my reviews on my own web pages, and you can read them by visiting The Movie Review Index that I've created. And in The Movie Feature Index, you can read some of my other writing about the cinema.

Essay Collection

To accompany The Movie Review Index, I've also put some non-review movie pieces onto my own web pages. There's Ricky & Me, a reminiscence about my time as a childhood local TV star (if only for a day). Or check out an article I wrote on antiquarian bookselling in Pittsburgh . Or you can read this story from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that was written about me - sort of. I don't do too much news reporting these days, but when Russian President Dimitry Medvedev visited Pittsburgh in 2009 for the G-20 summer, I attended his talk and wrote a piece about it.

Feel free to look over my résumé, which will list some writing credits as well as some information on the courses I teach. You can also look at the course descriptions for the various courses I teach at Pitt.

I have a large collection of works - in English and 35 foreign languages - by Gore Vidal, the American novelist/essayist/playwright. The Gore Vidal Index I've created will tell you all about the author and every book by and about him, including the novels he published under various pseudonyms, such as A Star's Progress by "Katherine Everard," pictured here at right, and Everard HB Messiah PB Thieves Fall Out by "Cameron Kay," as well as his commonly known "Edgar Box" mystery novels. One part of the Index allows you to take a Gore Vidal IQ Quiz to test your knowledge of the writer's life and work. I also have a list of Vidal's books in translation that's part of The Gore Vidal Index. That's where you'll also find a long interview with Gore Vidal that I conducted in 1991 when he was in Pittsburgh making a movie. We talked about politics and literature, his two favorite subjects. Another link on the Index allows you to see covers from more than 200 of his books published in translation. Or you can read about the Gores and the Vidals in politics, which is, you might say, the family business. Vidal's views on the World Trade Center attack have been very controversial, so I put together a full link on those views. And of course, there are those famous debates between Vidal and William F. Buckley on live TV during the 1968 Democratic national convention in Chicago.

For the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, I've written reviews of Palimpsest, Vidal's 1995 memoir; The Smithsonian Institution, his 1998 novel; The Essential Gore Vidal, a selection of his writings from the past 50 years; Fred Kaplan's biography, Gore Vidal; and the last novel in Vidal's American Chronicles, The Golden Age. All of these reviews are collected in The Gore Vidal Index, which also contains links to other Vidal sites on the web.

As part of my collection of Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction, I've created The Pulitzer Prize Thumbnails Project, where I list each prize-winning work of fiction and offer my thumbnail commentary on each book, including the most recent winner, Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad. The Project also has numerous links to other book prize sites, including the official pages of the Pulitzer and Nobel prizes.


Read about my book: Mesob Across America: Ethiopian Food in the U.S.A.

Another of my scholarly avocations is Ethiopia: the country, its history and culture, its language, and its food. In late 2010, I published my book Mesob Across America: Ethiopian Food in the U.S.A., and to preview it, I've created a website with a chapter outline and excerpts. I've also created a guide to Ethiopian restaurants and markets to accompany the book.

Ferenj Tej Front Label My interest in Ethiopian food began in March 2000, with a meal at an Ethiopian restaurant. The food was so delicious that I had to learn more about it. That led to extensive reading on the country, and now I'm learning to read Amharic, the official language of government in Ethiopia. I prepare a wide variety of Ethiopian food myself, including Ethiopian honey wine, which is called tej in Amharic (sometimes written t'ej in English). I call my label Ferenj Tej, and I've created a page to explain and discuss both my tej and tej in general. This page includes instructions for making tej and information on where to find gesho, the fermenting agent, without which you can't make it. "Ferenj" is the Amharic word for "foreigner," so the name seemed appropriate. This word is also (with a slightly different spelling) the name of a race of aliens on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the leader of that alien race is called a "negus," which is the Amharic word for "king."

In May 2004, Pittsburgh got its first Ethiopian restaurant: Abay, located on Highland Avenue. I wrote a piece about it for its opening. A pair of writers reviewed the restaurant for City Paper, and Tony Norman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote a column about the place. Abay was also named best new restaurant in the city in 2005 by the readers of City Paper. Pittsburgh now has a second Ethiopian restaurant: Tana, which opened in December 2007 on Baum Boulevard, just around the corner from Abay.

Brian Eating Lettuce I'm also a long-time hamster-phile, although I haven't had a hamster for many years now, and probably won't again for many years to come. My most recent hamster, Brian - seen here eating a piece of lettuce - was the latest in a long line of hamsters I've owned during the past 40 years (but none for almost 15 years now). I wrote a piece about Brian for my newspaper's 1996 "Tails of the City" Pet Issue, and I've reprinted it here. Brian passed away in February 1997 at the incredible age of 2 years, 5 months old. The life expectancy of a hamster is about two years. His final days were hard.

On July 29, 2004, the student leaders of The Pitt News won their lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania when a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals declared the state's Act 199 to be unconstitutional. Act 199 made it illegal for student newspapers in Pennsylvania to accept any paid advertising for the sale of alcohol, but the court ruled that such a ban violated the First Amendment guarantee of a free press. This lawsuit began in 1999 and has gone through numerous appeals. The Pittsburgh chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union argued on behalf of the newspaper. You can read the decision, in PDF form, on the Court's web site (Adobe Acrobat Reader required). And here's a link to an earlier ruling from the Third Circuit court that went against us and that the court essentially overturned with its July 2004 ruling in our favor.


Read about my book: Mesob Across America: Ethiopian Food in the U.S.A.

I have a roommate here on the web: My friend (and former student) Anthony Breznican lodged his web page material here when he graduated from college in 1998. He was with the Associated Press for six years, then with USA Today for six years. He joined the staff of Entertainment Weekly magazine in 2011. He now has lots of his work out there on the web, but this early work seems to have found a comfortable home where it began. The pictures here show Anthony as he was in college (left) and as he looks today.

Anthony's first novel, Brutal Youth, will be published in June 2014. It's a story of cruelty and survival in a working-class Catholic high school, and Stephen King has already tweeted his approval of the book. King said of the book: "If you thought high school was hell, has Anthony Breznican got a story for you. Every bully who stalked you, every sadistic teacher who ever terrified you, every stupid prank, every hopeless crush and false friend: they're all here, along with a few kids who hang together and try to do the right thing in a brutal environment. By turns funny and terrifying, Brutal Youth is an unputdownable tour-de-force, a Rebel Without a Cause for the 21st century."

And you can read what Anthony has to say about the book in this interview he gave to Entertainment Weekly.

If you like, you can read the things he wrote for The Associated Press in Pittsburgh during his internship there during the summer of 1997, or for The Pitt News during his year as editor in chief. While working for the AP, Anthony was shot at by the LA police and bitched at by a noted TV personality. He now has come to specialize in writing about the movies, and he regularly covered the Oscars and the Sundance Film Festival for USA Today, blogging from the scene and writing feature stories. He's flown around the world for his work, from the Cannes Film Festival, to the set of Angelina Jolie's directorial debut in Budapest.

Anthony's remembrance and tribute in USA Today to his cat Sinatra got worldwide attention. The story on the newspaper's website includes a video he made and photographs by his wife, Jill Breznican.