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Author Ann Markim visits Norma Anders Public Library

June 21, 2019
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Dysart Reporter

"Why am I here?" was the question author Anna Markim posed to an engaged audience at Norma Anders Library on Tuesday, June 18 as the former Dysart resident visited to discuss her book and the research which led to her writing.

Born Margaret Irvine (Knudsen), Markim is the author of "The Legacy", a novel inspired by her great-grandparents who immigrated to the U.S. from Denmark. The story revolves around Anna, who is adjusting to life in America having come from a richer farm in her homeland. Throughout the book, Anna faces the trials of marriage and pays tribute to Markim's heritage, part of which is found in her own pen name.

"My pen name is based off my family history because my book was inspired by it," Markim said."My mother's name was Annabelle, so the Ann is the first three letters of her name. My first name is Margaret, so the first three letters of that and my daughters' name is Kimberly, so the first three letters of her name. It's easy to spell. My real last name, Knudsen, is never spelled right."

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Margaret Knudsen, pen name Ann Markim, returned to her hometown of Dysart to talk about her book “The Legacy” and her historical research.

For her presentation, Markim asked "what am I here" not as a philosophical question, but as a look back at family history. Her family heritage can be traced back to her mother's Danish side, but also her father's Irish side as well, a genealogy she spent countless hours retracing for her book. As she was doing her research, Markim realized in order for her exist, her ancestors had to move to America for their own reasons, come to Iowa to settle and for her grandparents to eventually meet.

"All of these different events had to happen for me to be here," Markim said. "There had to be the famine in Ireland, the occupation of Denmark by Germany. There's always the possibility my dad's parents may have met in Ireland. Maybe my mother's parents would have met in Denmark and had my mom. Yet, when you get to that level, there's almost no likelihood my mother and my father would have met, and I wouldn't be here. All of these political events had to happen for me to be here and it's amazing to think about."

While's Markin's research was incomplete past her great-grandparents despite searching records, talking with family and scouring libraries population data, she was able to paint a picture of life was like for her Danish side coming to the U.S. for her readership to understand.

"While my book wasn't specifically based on my grandparents and their stories, it inspired me to make a historical novel," Markim said.

Markim's visit to Dysart was encouraged by Cathy Wieck, her sixth grade teacher. Further more, Janene Krug, the Library Director, talked to Markim's sister about coming back. The former Dysart native described the presentation as "an honor" to reminisce with and speak in front of people who knew her personally."

"As a librarian, it's wonderful to be able to host author programs, but it's especially exciting when they have ties to the area," Krug said. "I think what made this program so special was the family history Margaret shared and how she develops her ideas and research into her stories. In listening to conversations afterward, people were talking about their own family histories, making connections with others at the program. Maybe by sharing her research and results, Margaret will inspire someone else to dig into their family's stories."

Markim's next novel, "Erik's Story", will explore the story of Anna's son in "The Legacy" more closely. A publication date has not been announced. To learn more about Markim, visit her website at



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