When 22-year-old Marina Keegan died in a tragic car accident Memorial Day weekend, she left behind not only a myriad of friends and family and admirers, but also a surprisingly extensive and insightful body of work that has continued to find new audiences even after her death.
The musical on which she was working at the time of her death, "The Independents," enjoyed a critically acclaimed run at the International Fringe Festival in New York this August, receiving an award of excellence for Overall Production and earning a coveted (and jealously guarded) extended run.
Keegan wrote the book for the musical and her collaborators, including lyricist Mark Sonnenblick, worked to bring the show to the New York festival in a form that was true to Keegan's vision.
“We knew that this was something that we felt it was right to continue,” said Sonnenblick, in the midst of the festival run. “We also knew that Marina would have wanted the show to be as fully formed as possible instead of just a tribute to her.”
Even as "The Independents," moves beyond its New York debut, new work from Keegan is arriving in print, giving more audiences an opportunity to see her talent.
Most recently, The New Yorker, where Keegan was set to begin a job this summer, published a previously unpublished piece of her fiction," Cold Pastoral."
Deborah Treisman wrote The New Yorker's introduction to the piece. In it, she praises Keegan's literary voice and laments her life cut short.
That Marina was already exceptional in her accomplishments was made clear by the multitude of tributes and public expressions of grief that followed her death. It is also clear in the too-small body of writing she left behind, which offers a tantalizing taste of a literary voice still in development, yet already imbued with unusual insight, nuance, humor, and sensitivity.
Much of Keegan's work is available online. For a list that Patch compiled, check out "Marina Keegan's Lasting Footprint."