Stephen Holgate: Author, Diplomat and Traveler

by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS

“And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Written by T.S. Eliot, this sentiment is particularly well-suited to the life and writings of author Stephen Holgate, who’ll give an author talk and reading from his debut novel, Tangier, at Browsers Bookshop on June 23. Holgate is a prior U.S. diplomat and frequent traveler, and his book is an international thriller set in Morocco during World War II. It was published in May by Blank Slate Press and follows two parallel storylines filled with espionage and mystery. “Though Tangier is not about embassy life or my time there, it is inspired by stories I heard there and people I knew,” explained Holgate. “We got up to Tangier fairly often and found it, and its people, fascinating.”

After working at the American embassy in Rabat, Morocco, for four years in the 1990s, Holgate returned to the U.S. and settled in Portland, Oregon with his family. “The Pacific Northwest is truly home to me,” said Holgate, a fifth-generation Oregonian. “Even when my family and I were posted to Paris, I was always a little homesick. There was never any question in our minds that we would come back someday. It’s awfully good to be home.”

In addition to his diplomatic work abroad, Holgate also served as a congressional staffer, led a committee staff of the Oregon State Senate and headed two electoral campaigns. “My work and my travel have had a great influence on my writing,” he continued. “I learned so much from my travels with the foreign service, about these other cultures, about my own country, about myself. I find myself feeling that I have an obligation to pass along something of what I’ve learned.”

Although Tangier was published only one month ago, Holgate is already hard at work on his second novel, In Jersualem’s Fire, which is set in World War I-era Oregon. He’s also published short stories and freelance articles and produced and acted in a one-man play about Abraham Lincoln.

What: Stephen Holgate author talk

When: 7 p.m. Friday, June 23

Where: Browsers Bookshop,
107 Capitol Way N, Olympia

How much: free

Learn more: 360-357-7462 | Browsers Bookshop

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