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Author Peter Donahue Visits as Part of Visiting Writer’s Series

By Afrika Brown

A portrait of Peter DonahuePeter Donahue is an author and editor whose books include: "Clara and Merrit," "Madison House," as well as a collection of stories titled "The Cornelius Arms."

Donahue has also co-edited two literary anthologies, "Reading Seattle" and "Reading Portland" and "Seven Years on the Pacific Slope," a memoir by Mrs. Hugh Fraser.

Donahue will visit Whitman this week as part of the English department's Visiting Writer's Series, where he will read excerpts from his latest novel "Three Sides Water," published in 2018 through Ooligan Press. The reading is at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in the Kimball Theatre. This event is free and open to the public.

"Three Sides Water" is comprised of three short novels about three characters who live in Western Washington's Olympic Peninsula at different time periods and face life changing challenges.

Prior to his visit Donahue answered three questions regarding lessons he learned as a writer and editor, as well as the lessons he would like his readers to walk away with after reading "Three Sides of Water."

1. What would tell aspiring novelists about pursuing a career as a writer?

Put one sentence, one scene, one book in front of another. Don't worry about the calendar or accolades. Validation will come if you give the work its due, so keep going back to it.

2. What are the greatest lessons you've learned editing other people's work?

First you need to respect the work, which means reading the work carefully and openly. Most of the editing I've done has been to excerpt passages from larger works, so I always try to find one that's best represents the author's voice and vision. Finally, being a good editor has helped me be a better writer.

3. What are three life lessons you would like the reader to receive from each of the protagonists in "Three Sides of Water?"

In "On Rialto Beach," it would be to persevere through the fear. In "At Fort Worden," I would say, it's learning to be in the world and to become accountable to oneself and others. Reading good books helps. And for "Out of Shelton," the life lesson might be, take chances but don't ignore the people who love you.

Published on Oct 9, 2018
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