Novelist-historian to speak Thursday

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT HADLOCK — The way history can turn into a riveting tale of adventure: That’s the topic of novelist Peter Donahue’s “Inquiring Mind” lecture at the Jefferson County Library, 620 Cedar Ave., on Thursday.

This talk is for anyone interested in Northwest history and history in general, said Donahue, who is coming from Winthrop to give the 6:30 p.m. presentation. Admission is free.

Donahue, who has written several books inspired by the history of Washington state, will talk about how he does his research, the issues that arise in that process and how a historical novel takes shape.

He’ll also discuss the work of other historical writers, including Port Angeles’ Patricia Campbell.

Then, to round out his 45-minute talk, Donahue will guide audience members in an impromptu composition of stories based on their own knowledge of local history. Participants will have the chance to explore the boundaries between fact and fiction.

“Historical fiction is a form of writing history,” Donahue said. “The people who do it do thorough research. Some play fast and loose with the facts. And some adhere to the historical record pretty closely.”

Donahue is the author of three novels set in the Evergreen State: The Cornelius Arms, Clara and Merritt and Madison House, winner of the Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction.

He is co-editor of the anthologies Reading Seattle and Reading Portland, writes a column for Columbia: The Magazine of Northwest History and teaches English at Wenatchee Valley College in Omak.

Donahue’s presentation, funded in part by Humanities Washington, will be held at the library despite the fact that it’s closed for regular business through Dec. 16.

On Dec. 17, the Jefferson County Library will reopen at its temporary location at 51 Colwell St. at the far end of the Tri-Area Commercial Center. Its hours will be from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.

The Cedar Avenue library building is expected to be finished June 1. To find out more about library services, phone 360-385-6544 or visit


Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at

Last modified: December 04. 2012 5:52PM
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