How do the “lies of fiction” illustrate the truth? Writer William Kent Krueger explained it

Kent Krueger 022317For our Feb. 23 program, Author Kent Krueger was introduced by his longtime friend, Chaska Rotarian Kevin Eide.

Kent writes a mystery series set in the north woods of Minnesota. His protagonist is Cork O’Connor, the former sheriff of Tamarack County and a man of mixed heritage — part Irish and part Ojibwe. Kent’s work has received a number of awards, including the Minnesota Book Award, the Loft-McKnight Fiction Award, the Anthony Award, the Barry Award, the Dilys Award, and the Friends of American Writers Prize. His last seven novels were all New York Times bestsellers. His 2013 novel Ordinary Grace received the Edgar Award by unanimous decision of the Mystery Writers of America for the best novel published that year. Sulfur Springs, number sixteen in his Cork O’Connor series, will be released in September 2017.

Rather than discuss himself or his books, Kent shared his thoughts about our relationship with books, and their importance in our lives and our culture. He used quotes from smart people to emphasize his points, such as “libraries are the archives of our culture.” His own interest in fiction started when his father, a high school English teacher, would elaborate the hum-drum stories found in children’s book. In Kent’s early experience with Dumas, Wells, and Stevenson, he found that the “lies of fiction” illustrated the truth about our world. He believes that books help make sense of the chaos in the world and help us recognize the good that surrounds us. Kent’s philosophy of life has been strongly affected by what he’s learned from the Ojibwe culture in Minnesota, so Native American spiritualism has been included in his books. He still loves writing his Cork O’Connor books, and advised us to “Go Forth” and actively pursue what we want to become.

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