Described by The New York Times Book Review as “one of the major lyric voices of our time,” best-selling author and filmmaker Sherman Alexie is visiting Willamette University March 11.
The event begins at 7:30 p.m. in Smith Auditorium and is part of the university’s Atkinson Lecture Series. Through the series, internationally prominent artists, authors, leaders and journalists are brought to campus twice a year to give a public lecture and spend time with Willamette students.
A Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian, Alexie’s writing draws from his experiences growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpnit, Wash. Known for using humor to tackle such subjects as poverty, violence and alcoholism among the lives of Native American people, Alexie has written 24 books to date.
His first book, “Reservation Blues,” won a Booklist’s Editors Choice Award for Fiction, and his second, “Indian Killer,” was a New York Times Notable Book. His semi-autobiographical novel, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” won the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature in 2007.
Alexie wrote and produced the film, “Smoke Signals,” based on his book, “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.” The film won the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film festival. In 2002, Alexie made his directorial debut with “The Business of Fancydancing.”
Alexie, who lives in Seattle with his family, is known for his wit and performance ability. He’s been featured on “Politically Incorrect,” “60 Minutes II” and “NOW with Bill Moyers.”
When not writing or performing, Alexie supports youth programs and initiatives that help at-risk Native American youths. To that end, he became a founding board member of Longhouse Media in 2005. The mission of the nonprofit organization is to equip young Native Americans with filmmaking skills to help them express their cultural identity and spur social change.
[UPDATE: Tickets are sold out, though a limited number have been reserved for students and alumni. Follow the link below for the latest information.]
Tickets are available online and in the Putnam University Information Center beginning Feb. 17. Students, faculty and staff may reserve one free ticket and buy additional tickets for $5. General admission tickets cost $10, and alumni may purchase tickets for $5.