English teacher Kaia Preus set to publish own book


Nicole Strom

Ms. Kaia Preus displays her love for reading in her classroom.

Between grading English 9 essays and enhancing the Creative Writing curriculum, Ms. Kaia Preus has found the time to write a book-length essay, which won the 2018 EP/University of Washington at Bothell Book Contest and will be officially published on March 31st, 2020. 

Her story revolves around a classical piece of music called the War Requiem by Benjamin Britten. Britten decided to write his work post World War II to honor the bombing of Coventry Cathedral. Preus first came across Britten’s piece in college because her choir performed it. As she moved onto other stages of her life, namely graduate school, she couldn’t seem to get this work off of her mind. “He wrote it to commemorate a bombing in England during WWII,” Preus said. 

She divided her book into three different stories: the first is her personal experience with the piece, the second is a historical fiction take on Benjamin Britten’s story, and the third is the story of WWI poet Wilfred Owen. “It’s a very new type of book; I cut up each story into one hundred pieces and braided each story together,” Preus said. 

It’s a very new type of book; I cut up each story into one hundred pieces and braided each story together.

— Kaia Preus

This past February, Preus first found out her non-fiction work was going to be published, but she’d been working on it for five years. It will be published by Essay Press, a small independent press. It will be readily available for purchase on Amazon, online stores, small press distribution, select Barnes and Noble locations, and independent bookstores in early spring. “Don’t buy from Amazon, support the indies!” Preus said. 

Preus, whose work has appeared in literary arts magazines like Pleiades, The Drum, The Briar Cliff Review, Barely South Review, and Watershed Review, focuses on the big picture. She has not stopped writing just because she has a book in the works. In fact, she already has a novel and a collection of essays in the works for future publishing. “They are both first drafts,” said Preus.