novel-in-progress, "Little Century," on Thursday, Feb. 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Austin Reading Room at the Jereld R. Nicholson Library at Linfield.
The event, part of the Readings at the Nick series, is free and open to the public.
"Little Century" is set in Central Oregon in 1900. Growing up in the Willamette Valley, Keesey became enthralled with the central Oregon desert landscape during ski trips across the mountains. Her book was inspired by anecdotes relating to the range wars fought in central Oregon at the turn of the century.
"They were the last of the really bloody and destructive great basin wars for range land, and they intrigued me and meshed with some ideas I'd been having for a coming-of-age novel," she said. "I find myself somehow freed when I'm writing about a nineteenth-century past and I really like fiction that deals with the movement of history."
Keesey said the novel has relevant applications to the present day northwest. It takes up the moral ramifications of conflicts about power and resources.
"We don't tend to shoot each other anymore, but we have the same conflicts," said Keesey. "For instance, in the Klamath basin, farmers and birds and fish all need water. Whose claim is most righteous? On what do we base our decisions?" In Keesey's novel, this competition for resources leads to conspiracy and murder.
Keesey's short fiction has appeared in journals, including "DoubleTake" and "Grand Street," and in the Best American Short stories series. She has also published nonfiction in "Tin House" magazine, and book and concert reviews for the "Oregonian" and the "Chicago Tribune." Keesey is the winner of the James Michener-Copernicus Society fellowship and a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She holds a bachelor's degree from Stanford University and a master's of fine arts from the University of Iowa.
The reading is sponsored by the Linfield English Department and Friends of Nicholson Library. For more information, call Susan Barnes Whyte, college librarian, at 503-883-2517.