What Native writers influenced Tommy Orange? What else are young Native North American writers producing today? A short lecture by Dr. Tara Penry, Boise State University Professor of English, will be followed by discussion.
Suggested adult readings include (but need not be limited to) any of: Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine, The Plague of Doves; Sherman Alexie’s The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, Indian Killer; Katherena Vermette’s The Break; and Tommy Pico’s Nature Poem.
Dr. Tara Penry came to Boise State in 2000, having taught previously at Whitman College and the University of Maine at Presque Isle. An early fan of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, and Gerard Manley Hopkins, she discovered women writers and magazines from the nineteenth-century American west in graduate school and has been an Americanist ever since. She edited the Boise State Western Writers Series from 2000 to 2006 and its successor Western Writers Online from 2013 to 2015. In 2006, she served as president of the Western Literature Association and hosted that organization’s annual conference in Boise. She has published articles on nineteenth-century western literary magazines, on sentimentalism in writers ranging from Herman Melville to Terry Tempest Williams and William Kittredge, and other topics. Supported by a 2015 Research Fellowship from the Idaho Humanities Council, she is preparing a critical book manuscript about short story writer Bret Harte. Originally a Washingtonian, she lives in Boise with her husband and two children.
Tommy Orange is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel There There, a multi-generational, relentlessly paced story about a side of America few of us have ever seen: the lives of urban Native Americans. Orange is a recent graduate from the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. He is a 2014 MacDowell Fellow, and a 2016 Writing by Writers Fellow. He is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. He was born and raised in Oakland, California, and currently lives in Angel’s Camp, California.