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Second Sunday: Author Peter Rock

Posted By:  Liz Goodrich
Date Posted:  8/20/2013

Peter RockDeschutes Public Library is pleased to welcome Oregon author Peter Rock to Second Sunday, the library’s monthly celebration of the written word, Sunday, September 8 at 2:00 p.m. Rock is the author of novels including the recently published The Shelter Cycle, the award winning My Abandonment and a story collection, The Unsettling. The reading is free and open to the public and books will be available for sale following the reading.

Although a work of fiction, The Shelter Cycle tells the story of the real Church Universal and Triumphant and their guru Elizabeth Clare Prophet from the point of two young people raised in the Montana doomsday cult. Rock first became aware of the cult when he was working on a sheep ranch adjacent to the cult’s property in the early ‘90s. “I was stretching barbed wire fences, tending bum calves and chain-sawing firewood.” While working Rock noticed the members of the church working much harder. “The fear of an impending Soviet nuclear strike drove the church to build underground shelters—some small enough for a family or two, others costing millions of dollars, built for hundreds of people—and to store enough food and clothing for seven years.” About five years ago Rock was beginning to think about taking on writing about the cult when he realized that a young woman, a student at Reed College where he teaches, had been a child in the church during the time of the shelter cycle. Through her generosity Rock was able to gather hours of interviewers with ex-members and true believers. His research confirmed that it would be a fascinating topic to explore though fiction.

Born and raised in Salt Lake City Rock attended Deep Springs College, received a BA in English from Yale University, and held a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. He has taught fiction at the University of Pennsylvania, Yale, Deep Springs College, and in the MFA program at San Francisco State University. His previous novel, My Abandonment, won an Alex Award, the Utah Book Award and has been published in Germany, Turkey and France. His stories and freelance writing have both appeared widely. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and other awards, he currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and two fierce young daughters. He is a Professor of Creative Writing in the English Department at Reed College

For more information about this or other library programs please visit the library web site at or call 312-1032. People with disabilities needing accommodations (alternative formats, seating or auxiliary aides) should contact Liz at 312-1032.

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