Springfield native Steve Yates will read from “Morkan’s Quarry,” his new novel set in Civil War Springfield, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 21, at the Library Station, 2535 N. Kansas Expressway. Yates will sign copies of his book.
As a prelude to the reading, graduates and current students of the Missouri State University music program – Sara Coleman, soprano; Josh Markley, tenor; Kelly Osborne, mezzo soprano; and Veronica Adinegara, pianist — will perform works by American composer Stephen Foster.
In “Morkan’s Quarry,” local quarry owner Michael Morkan is coerced into giving up black powder to Sterling Price and the Confederate Missouri State Guard. Labeled as a traitor and Southern sympathizer, Morkan is arrested and torn from his beloved Cora Slade and his son, Leighton. His son must then fight to regain his father, keep the quarry, and save the family name, Morkan.
As historical fiction, the novel recreates the experiences of Springfieldians during a tragic time in history. Generals and bushwhackers such as William Clarke Quantrill make brief appearances, but the story’s heroes are preachers, former slaves, tailors, nurses, and limestone miners, Yates says.
“The Ozarks was largely isolated hill country, and a great number of people didn’t want to have anything to do with the war; they wanted to be left alone to their work,” Yates says. “I wanted to portray that risky middle ground, those real people caught in a maelstrom.”
Steve Yates is assistant director/marketing director at University Press of Mississippi, Jackson, Miss. He was born and reared in Springfield. His short fiction has appeared in Texas Review, Turnstile, Nebraska Review, North Dakota Quarterly, and Western Humanities Review. His novel was published by Moon City Press—an academic small press sponsored by the Missouri State University English Department.
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