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Author Trent Reedy speaks in hometown Dysart

April 5, 2019
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Dysart Reporter

Dysart native and award-winning author Trent Reedy returned to his hometown on Friday, March 29 in a crowded Norma Anders Library to relay his life experiences in the Iowa Army National Guard that helped inspire his early novels.

"Several months ago, I was contacted by the librarian at the Oelwein school district, who inquired about me coming to speak," Reedy said. "When they made the visit possible, I knew I would be more available to visit other schools and other schools were interested. My mother lives in Dysart and graciously offered to host me and lend me a vehicle."

The author of several children's and young adult books, Reedy's first novel, Words in the Dust, was inspired by his service in Afghanistan with the Iowa Army National Guard. He has appeared on tv and presented programs overseas, but also speaking tours at schools and libraries to promote the arts, the need for reading and writing. Reedy spoke of "the ultimate mission" to support and work to keep the arts alive to listeners in Dysart knowing they would pay attention because of their "obvious appreciation" with the renovations and support to the library over the years.

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Trent Reedy, author of Words in the Dust, returned home to a full crowd as he related how his experiences in Afghanistan influenced his books and his philosophy of supporting books and art.

"Often when the budget is tight at schools around the country, we treat books, arts and music as extras," Reedy said. "First we cut library purchasing budgets, then maybe go down to a half-time librarian, or get rid of the art teacher. One of the things I learned from my service from the war in Afghanistan is that the Taliban tried deliberately and violently to remove all books, art, music, culture and free thought. Without them, people begin to die inside."

Reedy entered the military as a combat engineer to pay for his studies at the University of Iowa and after graduation was deployed to Afghanistan. While overseas, the Dysart native learned the importance of art and was inspired by a copy of Bridge to Terabithia his wife sent to him during deployment. After coming back from the war, Reedy again took up writing and has since published an array of books based on what he learned about life (and explosives) as well as engaging audiences through public talks across the nation.

"The size of the crowd was one of the largest I've ever had, certainly in a library event," Reedy said. "I came worried it would only be my mom and sister here to listen, but we ended up having to bring in extra chairs for people."

Reedy held several speaking engagements with students and locals at North Tama, Traer, and Union Middle School earlier that day before speaking in "a gorgeous library". He spoke with the entire middle school body before teaching six different classes, all voluntary Reedy described as "young eager writers."

"It's wonderful to be able to answer their questions and give them writing advice," Reedy said. "I love Dysart and small-town Iowa in general, and I would have been thrilled as a kid to have a writer come and speak. I had former teachers and supportive adults here to see me speak and it was a real honor."

To both crowds, Reedy had three pieces of advice for future writers: keep reading constantly, continue to learn more about writing and never give up. Reedy currently lives outside of Spokane, WA with his wife, Amanda, and their daughter. For more information on Reedy's story and his novels, visit his website:



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