‘One of most beloved writers of his generation’ comes to Kitsap
October 24, 2008 · Updated 11:54 AM
And ... we didn’t get the interview, but Sherman Alexie brings his National Book Award-winning novel to Suquamish and Eagle Harbor Thursday.
Look at the awards on the back of this thing.
National Book Award Winner. Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year. No. 1 Book Sense Bestseller. New York Times Notable Book of 2007. An Amazon.com Book of the Year. And there’s more.
Add another tonight as Sherman Alexie will be presented a Washington State Book Award — the Scandiuzzi Children’s Book Award for middle grades and young adults — for his 2007 book “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.”
No wonder this guy doesn’t have time for an interview.
His assistant at Falls Apart Productions said he’s currently on a book deadline and traveling, with a new poetry collection coming out next year, and working on another young adult novel — with a brilliant title — “Radioactive Love Song.”
When he’s not publishing award-winning novels and poetry collections every two to three years, Alexie is busy otherwise, making movies, musing on the death of NBA basketball in Seattle in local newspapers or traveling to speaking engagements across the country — which is where he gets money so that he can write, he said in an interview with Stranger writer Paul Constant. Alexie also won the Stranger Genius Award in literature earlier this year, by the way.
In all, he’s published 11 collections of poetry, three collections of short stories, four novels and three screenplays since 1990, writing exclusively about Spokane Indians. In “The Absolutely True Diary” — the book that’s garnered all these awards over the past two years — Alexie likely recounts at least a few of his own roots on the Spokane Reservation, through the character of Junior, an already-cynical 14-year-old, pencil-thin kid with big feet and a giant dome, who draws cartoons constantly and is in love with books.
He gets picked on all the time, but he’s got two friends in the world — his dog Oscar and “the toughest kid on the rez,” Rowdy.
In the beginning of the book, Junior’s best friend, Oscar, gets sick and has to be put down by the bullet of his father’s gun because his family doesn’t have the money for veterinary bills.
“We reservation Indians don’t get to realize our dreams. We don’t get those chances. Or Choices. We’re just poor. That’s all we are,” Junior laments. “It sucks to be poor, and it sucks to feel that you somehow deserve to be poor.”
It also sucks to be in geometry class, receive a text book for the year and find your mom’s maiden name in the “This Book Belongs To:” box from some 30 years prior.
And on that note — through Alexie’s raw, wry and witty speak, adeptly illustrated by Ellen Forney’s notebook-paper doodle cartoons — the reader follows Junior on his journey for a good education, to an all-white school in the neighboring farm town of Rearden where the only other Indian is the school mascot.
SHERMAN ALEXIE is coming to Kitsap for the next West Sound Reads event at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Suquamish Tribal Center and Museum. A free shuttle service will be provided from the Clearwater Casino near the Agate Pass Bridge on Highway 305, starting at 6:30 p.m.
Prior to that appearance, Alexie read at a ticketed event at 5 p.m. at Eagle Harbor Books, 157 Winslow Way on Bainbridge. For tickets, call (206) 842-5332.
Info:www.shermanalexie.com, www.libertybaybooks.com, www.eagleharborbooks.com, www.krl.org.