Author Diane Hammond and the Killer Whale Captivity Controversy

Posted By:  Tina Walker Davis
Date Posted:  4/3/2014

Diane HammondWith the release of the controversial documentary film Blackfish, killer whale captivity has become a hot-button topic. Novelist Diane Hammond will give a presentation about her experiences as killer whale Keiko’s press secretary in the late 1990s, and will talk about how it inspired her latest novel, Friday’s Harbor. This event is free and open to the public; no registration is required.

Monday, April 7, 2014 • 6:00 p.m.
Downtown Bend Library

Hammond served as a spokesperson for the Free Willy-Keiko Foundation and the Oregon Coast Aquarium during Keiko’s time there. “As the killer whale’s full-time press secretary, I witnessed his amazing recovery at the hands of a small group of men and women who spent hours each day swimming with him in a pool so cold that hypothermia was always a danger,” says Hammond. Keiko had arrived at the Oregon Coast Aquarium for rehabilitation after having lived for eighteen years in a small, hot pool at an amusement park in Mexico City.

“Keiko would be my only killer whale, or at least my only real one—I took down my PR shingle for good a few months after his departure,” says Hammond. She found herself exhausted from the intensity of the previous two years. “I tried to sort out the experience by doing what I always do: I wrote about it, creating scores of vignettes loosely based on the project’s defining moments, and especially on Keiko as I’d come to know him—sly, silly, charismatic, winsome, affectionate and, most of all, resilient.”

Hammond is no stranger to the Pacific Northwest, having lived in Tacoma, Newport and Bend. Hammond is the author of five critically acclaimed novels: Friday’s Harbor (HarperCollins), Seeing Stars (Harper Perennial), Hannah’s Dream (William Morrow), Going to Bend (Doubleday/Ballantine) and Homesick Creek (Doubleday/Ballantine). She is the recipient of an Oregon Arts Commission literary fellowship and has served as a spokesperson for the Free Willy Keiko Foundation and the Oregon Coast Aquarium. She lives with her husband Nolan and three Pembroke Welsh Corgis in St. Paul, Minnesota.

For more information about this or other library programs, please visit the library website at People with disabilities needing accommodations (alternative formats, seating or auxiliary aides) should contact Tina at 541-312-1034.

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