Columbia's One Read events begin Monday

Monday, August 26, 2013 | 7:38 p.m. CDT; updated 11:40 p.m. CDT, Monday, August 26, 2013
Keija Parssinen's first novel, "The Ruins of Us," was selected as the One Read book for 2013.

*An earlier version of this story included an incorrect date for the flash fiction reading at Columbia Independent School.

COLUMBIA — Columbia's One Read project, a series of events to promote discussion about literature, will begin Monday.

Every year, One Read showcases a book nominated by the community. This year's selection — "The Ruins of Us" by Keija Parssinen — marks the first time the book has been by a local author. 

Every weekday in September, KOPN/89.5 FM Columbia will broadcast a portion of the novel read by local listeners. 

"In prior years, the books that have been chosen had an audio book that goes with it; this one does not," said Mitzi St. John, public relations director at Daniel Boone Regional Library. 

Parssinen published "The Ruins of Us" in 2012, 20 years after she and her family left Saudi Arabia, where they worked in the oil business, to settle in Austin, Texas.

Parssinen now works at Columbia Independent School and is the director of the Quarry Heights Writers' Workshop. 

"One of the things that's very nice about having Keija in town is that she's far more accessible," St. John said. "She's able to be more involved with the entire community One Read program. She's able to do local interviews — in person."

One Read events will be held through Sept. 30. The events include:

  • On Sept. 4, the Daniel Boone Regional Library will select the winner of the Flash Fiction Contest, in which contestants submit stories with fewer than 250 words. 
  • Also on Sept. 4, Columbia College's Lizbeth Metscher will lead a discussion on the novel at 6 p.m. in the English Parlor at Missouri Hall.
  • On Sept. 6, the Iranian film "A Separation" will play in 106 Pickard Hall at MU. This movie won the 2012 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film and explores many of the same themes as "The Ruins of Us."
  • *On Sept. 16, the Columbia Independent School will host a reception for One Read. Writers who have submitted entries to the Flash Fiction Contest are invited to read their works aloud. 

More events will be announced later, library staff said.

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