A livestream of this event will also be available.
With eighty percent of Native Americans living outside of reservations, often in cities and urban areas, Pulitzer Prize-finalist Tommy Orange wants to provide a modernized narrative of the Native experience. To do this, Orange goes beyond old tropes and stereotypes in his writing by creating nuanced and complex literary characters.
As one of TIME Magazine’s 25 Most Anticipated Books of 2024, Orange’s Wandering Stars is both a prequel and sequel to his novel There There, spanning generations of a Native family. Star is a young survivor of the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864, where more than 230 Cheyenne and Arapaho people were killed by the U.S. Army in Colorado. He is forced to learn English and practice Christianity at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. A generation later, Star’s son, Charles, is sent to the same school, where he is brutalized, clinging to moments he shares with a young fellow student, Opal Viola.
Fast forward to Oakland in 2018. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield is barely holding her family together after a devastating shooting. Her nephews are struggling to process their trauma, and Opal is equally adrift, experimenting with Ceremony and peyote, searching for a way to heal her wounded family. Extending narratives into the past and future, Orange delivers a story that explores themes of violence and recovery, hope and loss, identity and power, dislocation and communion, and the beauty and despair woven into the history of a nation and its people – and how all of it shapes us today.
Tommy Orange is a graduate of the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. An enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, he was born and raised in Oakland, California. His first book, There There, was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize and received the 2019 American Book Award.
Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe is a Coast Salish author from the Nooksack and Upper Skagit Indian tribes. She is the author of Red Paint: The Ancestral Autobiography of a Coast Salish Punk, winner of a Pacific Northwest Book Award, the Washington State Book Award for Creative Nonfiction/Memoir, and an NPR Best Book of the Year, and the poetry collection Rose Quartz. She received a double MFA in creative nonfiction and poetry from the Institute of American Indian Arts.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle.
This event is sponsored by The Boeing Company.
Community Partner: Urban Native Education Alliance