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Dordt Writes event features Professor Luke Hawley

February 25, 2013

English Professor Luke Hawley’s The Northwoods Hymnal will be the featured book at the next “Dordt Writes” event celebrating books written by Dordt College authors. All are invited to share a cup of coffee and a cookie and hear the author talk briefly at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 1, in the John and Louise Hulst Library on the campus of Dordt College.

The Northwoods Hymnal is a book of short stories along with their companion songs on CD, all written by Hawley, who has been writing songs and playing guitar since he was 15.

“The Northwoods Hymnal is full of stories about connecting and coping, hoping that a little community will keep out the cold of winter,” says Hawley. “The stories are wholly Midwestern, unassuming and funny, and you'll find they stay with you through the bleak and help with the coping, without asking much in return.”

Hawley grew up in a literary family and began writing stories as a boy—when computers had dark screens and yellow/orange type, he recalls. 

“They were almost all baseball stories,” says the self-confessed baseball fanatic.

Storytelling is in his blood. Holidays were filled with family stories told and retold. His father and his grandfather were both master storytellers, and he thinks that the generations of preachers in his family history probably contributed to his storytelling gene.

Hawley finds in himself a combination of his father's and grandfather’s styles, he says. His grandfather had a habit of telling tragic stories during times of celebration; his father tended to more celebrative ones. His own stories capture some of the struggles people deal with but end with a sense of hope, often by focusing on the goofy things people do as they cope with difficulties in their lives, he says.

“Life is full of tragedy and beauty. There’s always dissonance in living,” he says. “We’re all in the messiness of life together, but in community we find we have a lot in common.”

Luke Hawley started teaching at Dordt College this year, and his family plans to move to Sioux Center from St. Paul, Minnesota, this summer.

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