OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Former OSU and Corvallis High School student publishes debut novel

09/18/2009

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Corvallis author and former fly fishing guide John Larison will read from and sign copies of his first novel, “Northwest of Normal,” on Oct. 2 at Oregon State University.

Larison, who grew up in Philomath and recently graduated with a master of fine arts degree from OSU’s creative writing program, will make his presentation in the Memorial Union Journey Room at 7:30 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public, and co-sponsored by the OSU Bookstore and the OSU Visiting Writers Series.

“Northwest of Normal,” just published by Barclay Creek Press, is set in a mythical Oregon mountain town called Ipsyniho. It tells the story of Andy Trib, a young fly-fishing guide who returns from traveling in Micronesia to discover that his hometown and its beautiful river are caught up in wrenching social and environmental changes.

OSU English instructor Ted Leeson, who is the author of several books, praised “Northwest of Normal” as “a skillfully told story about a place unraveling under the pressures of change and betrayal, about the cooptation of a landscape, river, and locality that is disturbingly emblematic of the contemporary Pacific Northwest.” The Denver Post said the book is “a first-rate contribution to novels of the West.”

Larison, who was raised in Philomath, traveled widely as a child. His family often accompanied his father, a filmmaker for OSU and the National Geographic Society, on assignment throughout the world. Later, Larison studied English at the University of Oregon, taught high school in Eugene, and spent several years a fly fishing guide on the McKenzie River.

He also has written a book on fishing called “The Complete Steelheader,” which was published last year by Stackpole Books. He is a frequent contributor to such outdoor publications as Gray’s Sporting Journal and Fly Fisherman, for which he serves as the Northwest field editor.

Larison lives in Corvallis, teaches writing in the OSU English Department, and is at work on his next novel.