2013 One Read Winner: About “The Ruins of Us” and Keija Parssinen

About the Book

The Ruins of Us” is a fast-paced work of contemporary fiction that explores the terrain of family relationships complicated by cultural conflict.

After more than 20 years of marriage to wealthy Saudi Abdullah al-Baylani, Rosalie, an American expatriate, discovers that her husband has taken a Palestinian second wife, which makes her contemplate escaping both the marriage and the country she has grown to love. Leaving will not be easy, however, given the country’s restrictions on women and the needs of her teenage children – a headstrong daughter becoming increasingly westernized and a son succumbing to radicalism.

The book’s publisher describes “The Ruins of Us” as  “a timely story about intolerance, family and the injustices we endure for love.” Read More

Thank You for Being a Part of One Read 2013

The Ruins of Us image from webOur sincere thanks to all of you who read or listened to “The Ruins of Us” by Keija Parssinen and joined us for one of this year’s outstanding One Read events. What an exceptional year and a great opportunity to celebrate our local writing community. We capped off the month with Parssinen delivering her keynote address in both Columbia and Fulton. She generously shared details of her own development as a writer, her dedication to writing in service to complex characters and as a process of exploring and answering difficult questions.

Parssinen said, “It is my belief that the only way to combat ignorance is to talk to one another, to have a conversation. In this way, the One Read program is exceptionally important. It gives us as a community the time and space to engage in civil dialogue with our neighbors.”

Our sincere thanks to you for being a part of the important dialogue sparked by “The Ruins of Us.”


Flash Fiction Contest Winners: “Outsider”

As part of this year’s One Read program and inspired by the themes of displacement, disconnection and longing for the feeling of home in “The Ruins of Us,” we challenged writers to craft a tale that somehow explores this idea of being an outsider. We received stories of cliques and exclusion, moving to an unfamiliar city, the immigrant experience,  or of returning to a home that is no longer home–all told in no more than 250 words. Thank you to everyone who entered and shared the worlds of your imagination with us. Our two winners are Josh Ray and Chinwe Ndubuka.  Writers Melody Hapner and Nidhi Khosla receive honorable mentions.

We invite all participants to come to our Flash Fiction Reading and Reception on Monday, September 16 at 7:00 p.m. in the Columbia Independent School Cafetorium (1801 N. Stadium Blvd).

We are pleased to share with you the winning stories. Read More

One Read Art Exhibit Winners

viewing art at Orr Street Studios
Viewing the artwork at the reception for “Home,” this year’s One Read art exhibit

For this year’s art exhibit, we asked area artists to contribute works that explore the idea of home, of leaving and returning, or what One Read author Keija Parssinen calls “that mysterious child-love for a left-behind place.” We were absolutely thrilled at the quality and variety of work submitted.

At the exhibit’s opening reception on September 10, the following winners and honorable mentions were announced.  Read More