Author Keija Parssinen and One Read in the Columbia Daily Tribune

One Read logoOne Read programming begins this week, and our friends at the Tribune have published some insightful pieces about Keija Parssinen’s book “The Ruins of Us” in advance of the discussions, films, art exhibits and other events happening this September.

The Tribune’s Amy Wilder writes eloquently about the deep sense of place and emotional intensity of “The Ruins of Us.” She describes Parssinen’s roots in Saudi Arabia and how her outsider’s perspective lends a certain insight into that country’s culture. Read Wilder’s piece, Years Spent Abroad Shaped One Read Author’s Perspective.

Wilder also recently interviewed Keija Parssinen about both One Read and her forthcoming novel set in Southeast Texas. Read parts one and two of this interview on the Tribune’s Art Axis blog.

Finally, for the second year the Tribune is hosting One Read’s online book club. Each Monday we summarize two or three chapters and offer questions for discussion. You are invited to join the conversation and contribute your comments!

One Read Author’s Talks

Keija ParssinenSpend an evening with One Read author Keija Parssinen!

Thursday, September 19 › 7 p.m.
Columbia, Columbia College, Launer Auditorium

Thursday, September 26 › 7 p.m.
Fulton, William Woods University Library Auditorium

One Read author Keija Parssinen steps up to the podium to talk about growing up in Saudi Arabia and how it inspired her to write her debut novel, “The Ruins of Us.” She’ll also speak to writing as a craft and answer your questions.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing following each of these talks.

Browse our full listing of One Read events in our online program guide, and join us in September for book discussions, films, presentations, radio programsart and more. And don’t forget to sign up to let us know you are reading this year’s selection.

Flash Fiction Contest: Outsider

Woman with typewriter

This contest is now closed. Thank you to all who entered! Winners will be announced by September 13.

“Imagine. To live out your life in a country not your own. Imagine it.” – Keija Parssinen, “The Ruins of Us”

This year’s One Read  selection is rich with themes related to displacement, disconnection and a longing for the feeling of home. In 250 words or less, craft a tale that somehow explores this idea of being outside – outside of a culture, a community, a family. Evoke the feeling of being a stranger in a strange land, whether that land is a foreign country, your childhood home or even your own mind.

Entries may be submitted using this form, mailed or dropped off at any library or bookmobile. (See full rules below for details.) Winning entries and honorable mentions will be published on this site and winners will receive a $20 book store gift card.

Entries are due by Wednesday, September 4. Participants must be age 16 or older and residents of Boone or Callaway Counties. Read on for complete contest rules. Read More

One Read Art Exhibit: Call for Submissions

A One Read Art Exhibit
Orr Street Studios (106 Orr Street, Columbia)

“Your heart’s love has no land, no homeland, no address.” ~ poet Nizar Qabbani, as quoted by Keija Parssinen in “The Ruins of Us”


Inspired by this year’s One Read selection, we invite Mid-Missouri artists to contribute works that explore the idea of home, of leaving and returning, or what Parssinen calls “that mysterious child-love for a left-behind place,” a place that largely exists in one’s imagination or memory. Cash prizes will be awarded for three winners, courtesy of Columbia’s Office of Cultural Affairs. The third place winner will receive $50, the second place winner $75 and the first place winner $125 plus a free educational class from the Columbia Art League. Art will be displayed September 8-21 at Orr Street Studios with an opening reception, awards and program on Tuesday, September 10 at 6 p.m.

Submission Details Read More

2013 List of Suggested Titles

Each winter, the public submits suggestions for next year’s One Read book. In January, a panel of community members reviews the suggestions, narrowing that list down to 10 titles, and then chooses two or three books to present for a public vote.


Final 10 Selections

Read More