Tracker Pixel for Entry

Closing this year’s Community Read

Writer's Block | October 31st, 2018


by Nataly Routledge

MOORHEAD-- “I thought I’d read 30 pages of the book in a monotone,” said Penny Duffy in the introduction to the question and answer session for her novel on Thursday. The audience lit up with laughter. Held at the Knutson Center of Concordia college, the event was held as part of this year’s 1 Book, 1 Community read for the Fargo, West-Fargo, and Moorhead communities.

The yearly community read for our region is hosted by the local libraries. This was the 7th year of this event—the chosen novel this year was The Cartographer of No Man’s Land.

“Libraries serve as a real community connector,” Duffy noted towards the beginning of her talk. Events such as 1 Book, 1 Community attempt to draw together a range of demographics within the region and unite them with a commonality—reading a novel. Book talks, exhibits, posters, and author talks are held each year to generate interest in the book and its topic. Last year’s novel was Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet written by Jamie Ford.

Duffy worked for years as a writer for neurosciences at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and has dabbled in creative writing for years. This novel was her first venture into fiction, something she’s been hoping to dive into for a long time now.

The novel is set during World War I telling the story of a fictional family living in Nova Scotia. This subject was the result of a long-held fascination with history starting with Duffy’s undergraduate degree. Initially put on the backburner, this interest in history resurfaced in the form of a historically-rich and meaningful novel voicing the story of Canadian soldiers.

At first hesitant to take on such a daunting, research-based project, Duffy avoided the project. The final bout of certainty for this topic occurred while she was visiting a small arts center in Minnesota. As she was admiring a local artist’s painting, a woman who identified herself as a psychic approached her. “I see these men in khaki, suspenders, and collarless shirts standing around you, and they want you to tell their story,” the psychic told Duffy.

This event, as odd as Duffy perceived it to be, pushed her to dedicate herself to this novel. She did in-depth research on World War I, collecting a vast number of statistics and sources to immerse herself into the context of this novel. “A lot of the time I felt like I was writing something beyond myself,” Duffy told the Fargo-Moorhead audience.

At some point during the talk she surveyed the audience to see who had ancestors that served in World War I. A significant percentage of the audience raised their hands. “We need to honor those who fought, without glorifying war…it’s a fine line,” Duffy later said, continuing to reflect on the gravity of her novel’s content.

The book took her a total of 8 years to research and produce. You can find the novel at the West Fargo, Fargo, and Moorhead public libraries. Information on the 1 Book, 1 Community project can be found at the website 1book1community.org.

Recently in:

By Vanessa Jugarap Clarkvanessajugarapclark@gmail.com "I lived in Gaza, Palestine from 2003 to 2017 and 2020 to 2021. From water cuts, to the electricity schedule of 6-on/12-off (on a good day), every day was a reminder of the…

By Annie Prafckeannieprafcke@gmail.com As an elementary school kid in the early 2000s, Kristy Tran didn’t start her day the way most kids do. Instead of rolling out of bed to go straight to school, Tran and her parents went…

March 19-23Fargo Theatre314 Broadway N, FargoCheck out luncheon panel discussions, pre-parties, a 2-minute movie contest, local, international and award-winning films for your viewing pleasure. Producer Will Greenfield will be…

By John Strandjas@hpr1.com What’s that you just said? “Tell somebody who gives a shit”? Stop reading this now if you don’t care about anyone else. Don’t waste your time. You’ll only get mad. Vocal. Obstinate.…

By Ed Raymondfargogadfly@gmail.comThe Catacombs under Paris Contain the Bones of Millions of FeudalistsSixty-five feet below the Paris streets are about 170 miles of tunnels that go through stone quarries, galleries, and ossuaries…

By Rick Gionrickgion@gmail.com Holiday wine shopping shouldn’t have to be complicated. But unfortunately it can cause unneeded anxiety due to an overabundance of choices. Don’t fret my friends, we once again have you covered…

By Rick Gionrickgion@gmail.com In this land of hotdish and ham, the knoephla soup of German-Russian heritage seems to reign supreme. In my opinion though, the French have the superior soup. With a cheesy top layer, toasted baguette…

By John Showalterjohn.d.showalter@gmail.com It is not unheard of for bands to go on hiatus. However, as the old saying goes, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” That is why when a local group like STILL comes back to…

Now playing at the Fargo Theatre.By Greg Carlson gregcarlson1@gmail.comPalme d’Or recipient “Anatomy of a Fall” is now enjoying an award-season victory tour, recently picking up Golden Globe wins for both screenplay and…

In the 20th and 21st centuries, the pursuit of knowledge has directed humankind to new horizons – the ocean depths, the infinite reach of space, and the hidden secrets of cells and microbes…or to Artificial Intelligence, which…

By John Showalterjohn.d.showalter@gmail.comHigh Plains Reader had the opportunity to interview two mysterious new game show hosts named Milt and Bradley Barker about an upcoming event they will be putting on at Brewhalla. What…

By Annie Prafckeannieprafcke@gmail.com AUSTIN, Texas – As a Chinese-American, connecting to my culture through food is essential, and no dish brings me back to my mother’s kitchen quite like hotdish. Yes, you heard me right –…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comNew Jamestown Brewery Serves up Local FlavorThere’s something delicious brewing out here on the prairie and it just so happens to be the newest brewery west of the Red River and east of the…

By John Showalter  john.d.showalter@gmail.comThey sell fentanyl test strips and kits to harm-reduction organizations and…

JANUARY 19, 1967– MARCH 8, 2023 Brittney Leigh Goodman, 56, of Fargo, N.D., passed away unexpectedly at her home on March 8, 2023. Brittney was born January 19, 1967, to Ruth Wilson Pollock and Donald Ray Goodman, in Hardinsburg,…

By William Cooperwcooper11@gmail.com When people look at political questions through a partisan lens, they apply their own personal gloss to the world. They reflexively interpret events in favor of their own tribe and against the…