McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

February 15, 2014

‘Let’s Talk’ program features Native American writers


Submitted report

McALESTER — Books are now available at McAlester Public Library for the spring 2014 reading and discussion series, “Native American Writers of the Plains.”

The series is part of the “Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma” program from the Oklahoma Humanities Council and opens March 13 with the book “Fools Crow” by James Welch. It will be the subject of a scholarly talk by Dr. Richmond Adams of Eastern Oklahoma State College, with group discussion to follow.

There will be additional movie screenings designed to complement the series, beginning March 6. Brochures with dates and times of each event are available at the library at 401 N. Second St. LTAIO programs are in the Whiteacre Room, and run from 6-8 p.m.

Other books in the series, which continues every two weeks until April 24, are “Mean Spirit” by Linda Hogan, presented by Dr. Rex Morrell of Tishomingo; “The Bingo Palace” by Louise Erdrich, presented by Dr. Trisha Yarbrough of Ada, and “Medicine River” by Thomas King, presented by Dr. Lewis Parkhill of Tishomingo.

The series opens with a young Blackfeet man’s coming-of-age story, set in 1870 at the dawn of the modern era. Next comes a Roaring Twenties tale of murder among the oil-rich Osage. The settings grow more modern with the Erdrich book, set in 1980s Chippewa culture. Finally, contemporary Native American themes are illuminated in King’s comic look at life on a Blackfoot reservation in Canada.

“This series highlights authors from the Native American Renaissance,” said project director Kathy McGilberry, assistant librarian. “Those with Native American backgrounds, or interest in contemporary native culture, might be particularly interested in these stories.”

Welch’s book won the American Book Award. Hogan’s book took the Oklahoma Book Award, and she continues to be well-known in Oklahoma as the writer in residence of the Chickasaw Nation.

Erdrich is the best-selling author of the National book Award-winning “The Round House,” as well as a Pulitzer Prize finalist for “The Plague of Doves.” King, a Cherokee who lives in Canada, is the author of many fiction and nonfiction works.

Books, services and other materials are provided by LTAIO, a project of the OHC and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Funding for this series was provided by grants from the Inasmuch Foundation and Kirkpatrick Family Fund. Local funding is provided by Friends of the Library.