Focus on Nebraska authors: Kent Haruf

Kent Haruf (rhymes with sheriff) graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1965 where he later taught as an assistant professor. He earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa in 1973. These are only a few of his credentials but he came to my attention when his book Plainsong was announced as the very first One Book One Lincoln in 2002. That book marked the beginning of my own book group and a relationship with the One Book One Lincoln program that remains to this day.

Plainsong takes place in the fictional town of Holt, Colorado and is based on the town of Yuma where Mr. Haruf lived in the ‘80s. In a Newsweek review, Jeff Giles called the book “a moving look at our capacity for both pointless cruelty and simple decency, our ability to walk out of the wreckage of one family and build a stronger one where it used to stand.” Many local readers were miffed at the lack of quotation marks throughout the book and this caused a bit of kerfuffle. As I listened to the audio version, it wasn’t an issue.  Another Haruf title follows some of the same characters in Holt and is entitled Eventide.

Kent Haruf died at the age of 71 in November of 2014. To honor this writer, you may wish to select some of his titles in our collection: Eventide, Plainsong, The Tie That Binds and Where You Once Belonged

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1 Response to Focus on Nebraska authors: Kent Haruf

  1. Laura Marvel Wunderlich says:

    I was so pleased to read this post by Lisa Kelly! I am a member of the planning committee for the Kent Haruf Literary Celebration to be held in Salida, CO (Kent’s final hometown) September 22-24 of 2017. Kent’s biographer will be speaking, as will the curator of his manuscripts at the Huntington Library. A creative writing workshop, a theatrical presentation, and three sessions designed to stimulate literary discussion of Kent’s works are planned. Should you be interested in attending the celebration or presenting a paper, please access https/honorkentharuf.org.

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