Tahlequah Daily Press

April 2, 2014

Award-winning poet, novelist Alexie to speak at NSU April 23


TAHLEQUAH — Award-winning poet and novelist Sherman Alexie will be speaking at Northeastern State University’s Webb auditorium in Tahlequah on Wednesday, April 23.

The talk will be from 7:30-8:30 p.m., with a book-signing to follow. The event is free and open to the public. A live video broadcast will be shown at NSU Broken Arrow for those not able to attend in Tahlequah.

This event is sponsored by NSU and Project I’M READY!, with generous funding provided by The Institute of Museum and Library Sciences, and addition funding by the Indigenous Scholars Development Center and the Sequoyah Institute.

Project I’M READY aims to provide culturally diverse education and resources for librarians working with Native American students in high poverty rural areas of Oklahoma. The grant also provides funding for events within the community to promote education, art, and continued learning. For more information on the grant, or for free access to some of the resources created, visit www.nsuok.edu/imready or www.facebook.com/projectimready.

Author, poet, and screenwriter Alexie was named one of The New Yorker’s 20 top writers for the 21st century. The New York Times Book Review described him as “one of the major lyric voices of our time,” and Men’s Journal called him “the world’s first fast-talking, wisecracking, mediagenic American-Indian superstar.”

After Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington, a college professor recognized his “intensity of language, passion, and energy.” A gifted orator, he tells tales of contemporary American Indian life, laced with razor-sharp humor, unsettling candor and biting wit.

Alexie’s first novel, “Reservation Blues,” won Booklist’s Editors Choice Award for Fiction. His second, “Indian Killer,” was a New York Times Notable Book. “The Toughest Indian in the World” won the 2001 PEN/Malamud Award, honoring excellence in the art of storytelling. “Ten Little Indians” was a national bestseller and Publishers Weekly Book of the Year. His recent books include: “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” a 2007 National Book Award winner in Young People’s Literature; the novel “Flight”; and “Face,” a collection of poems. His 2009 book of short stories, “War Dances,” won the PEN Faulkner Award.

Alexie wrote and produced the film, “Smoke Signals,” based on his book, “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven,” which won the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film festival. In 2002, he made his directorial debut with “The Business of Fancydancing.” He is currently working on a sequel to “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” titled “Fire with Fire” and a sequel to “True Diary” called “The Magic and Tragic Year of My Broken Thumb.”

Alexie received Washington State University’s Highest Alumni Award, recognizing the importance of his Native American voice to a broad audience, and Pushcart Prize.

He released “Blasphemy,” an anthology of new stories and beloved classics, in October 2012. Shortly thereafter, Kirkus Reviews, The New York Times, and NPR all included “Blasphemy” in their lists of the top books of 2012. He was recently awarded a 2014 Literature Award by The American Academy of Arts and Letters.

His 24th book, “What I’ve Stolen, What I’ve Earned,” a collection of poems, was released in November 2013.