Peter Geye Lecture

By Tahnayee Clendinen, A&E Writer

As part of Pacific Lutheran University’s Visiting Writer Series, author Peter Geye gave a reading that captivated students and community members alike in the Scandinavian Center Nov. 13.

Geye was born and raised in Minneapolis. After traveling around and attending the University of Minnesota, University of New Orleans and Western Michigan University, Geye decided to continue living in Minnesota.

This setting became the backdrop for his first book, “Safe from the Sea,” which takes place along the lakeshore landscape of Minnesota, as well as the setting for his second book, “The Lighthouse Road.” Geye read from his second novel at PLU.

“The Lighthouse Road” details the life of Thea Eide, a Norwegian immigrant and skilled cook, her son Odd Einar Eide, a fisherman involved in a secret romance, and a number of other characters. The book spans 40+ years, and Geye wrote it in non-chronological order from multiple perspectives.

Throughout the reading, the audience was silent save for the occasional gasp or word of approval. After his reading, Geye gave a short speech about his inspirations and the bases for the characters in “The Lighthouse Road.”

During the subsequent Q-and-A session, the audience asked several questions, more questions cropping up as the session continued. Geye said he was happy to answer them.

A quiet voice in on of the corners of the room asked the first question: “what inspires you to write?”

“The seasons, the weather and the way that those things influence the people around them gives me inspiration,” Geye said. “The lists of things that inspire me are endless.”

A loud voice from the among the crowd later asked, “how do you choose what to put in your stories?”

“I believe that something should tell you that it will be in the story rather than trying to put or fit it in to the story,” Geye said.

Many of the students who attended the reading said they were pleased with Geye’s appearance as they filed out of the room.

Sophomore Caila Fautenberry, who attended the lecture as a representative for the Garfield Book Company, said she liked many aspects of the event. “It was really interesting,” Fautenberry said. “He seemed really passionate about his work.”

Though Fautenberry was there because of her affiliation with the Garfield Book Company, many other students and community members came for different reasons, including their majors and recreational choices.

Sophomore Kristina Kusel said she attended because she is a member of PLU’s writing club The Mark. Geye had visited one of The Mark’s meetings earlier that week.

“He came to our meeting and was so inspiring,” Kusel said. “He taught us that you can write your story and not have to stick to a certain criteria and be conventional.”

Audrina Coskove, a community member who has lived in Parkland for most of her life, said she attended Geye’s event because she feels English is a dying art.

“So many people text and play on computer games and stuff,” Coskove said. “It’s important to support anything that is written word.”

Peter Geye’s visit marked the last of three events of the Visiting Writer Series for this semester. 🅼

Leave a Reply