Local author reads from new memoir

On Nov. 3, Northwest author and PSU writing professor Craig Lesley will read from his new work, “Burning Fence: A Western Memoir of Fatherhood.”


The reading, sponsored by the Literary Alliance, will take place in the Smith Center Browsing Lounge, Room 238, at 7:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public.


In “Burning Fence,” Lesley reaches back to his roots to tell a story set in Oregon’s high desert, peopled with two difficult fathers: his biological father, a shell-shocked coyote trapper and deer poacher who abandoned him and his mother; and his abusive stepfather, a domineering, often emotionally cruel railroader.


Lesley uses this background to frame his youth and his later experiences in raising an emotionally-disturbed Indian boy affected by fetal alcohol system, a challenge in which he hoped to prove he could be a better father than his own fathers were to him.


Lesley has earned numerous awards for his writing, including an Oregon Book Award, two Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association awards and a Pulitzer Prize nomination. He has also received several national fellowships and holds a doctorate of humane letters from Whitman College.


Currently, Lesley is writer-in-residence at PSU, where he teaches fiction writing. He is in the midst of a Western book tour that will take him through Oregon, Washington, Idaho and California.


Copies of Lesley’s books will be available at the reading for purchase and signing.