The Pulitzer Prize finalist will speak at the library
We know COVID has put a lot of things on hold for a lot of people and organizations. One project the Delaware County District Library was working on for 2020 was a series of authors. It was expected to take the next natural step after a very successful series of author visits in the summer of 2019. The first person on the 2020 calendar was Tommy Orange. His visit would have taken place on April 24, 2020.
When Orange’s novel “There There” was released in 2018, it became an instant bestseller, with every Delaware County Library book club discussing it by the end of 2019. The library couldn’t keep copies of the book on the shelf, it was so popular. The book was immediately introduced into university curricula and has become essential reading for a modern understanding of Native American history and identity. “There There” was positively received and became a 2019 Pulitzer Prize finalist.
It makes me so happy to say that in a week, we will finally have Mr. Orange’s presentation in Delaware County on Saturday, November 12 at 7 p.m. Tickets are free, but places are limited and can be reserved on the library’s website.
The conversation will be moderated by Amy Butcher and Karen Poremski, professors at Ohio Wesleyan University. Poremski’s research from the later part of his career examined how Indigenous literature portrays the complex relationships between Indigenous peoples, museums, and objects in museums. Butcher is currently Director of Creative Writing and Associate Professor of English at Ohio Wesleyan University and teaches annually at Sitka Fine Arts Camp in Sitka, Alaska. His classes at OWU have studied the Mr. Orange essays since they were published in 2018.
Mr. Orange’s visit comes amid National Native American Heritage Month, a time set aside for Americans to explore the heritage, culture and experience of Indigenous peoples both historically and in American life today. This month, I invite you to join the conversation in any way you can. Maybe it’s a seat to visit, or maybe it’s watching or reading something to give you a new perspective. I recommend starting with “There There” or one of these titles.
• “Why We Serve: Native Americans in the United States Armed Forces” by Alexandra N. Harris and Mark G. Hirsch. Commemorates the 2020 opening of the National Native American Veterans Memorial at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the first monument in Washington, DC, to recognize the bravery and sacrifice of Native American veterans. The history of Native American military service dates back to colonial times and today they serve at one of the highest rates of any ethnic group.
• “Poet Warrior: A Memoir” by Joy Harjo, Poet Laureate of the United States. Joy Harjo, three-term poet laureate, makes a lively, lyrical and inspiring call for love and justice in this contemplation of her pioneering life. In absorbing, incantatory prose, Harjo mourns the loss of her mother, reckon with the theft of her ancestral homeland, and highlights the rituals that nurture her as an artist, mother, wife, and community member.
• “Dog Flowers” by Danielle Geller. After Geller’s mother dies from vicious drug withdrawal while homeless, she is forced to return to Florida. Using her training as a librarian and archivist, Geller collects her mother’s documents, diaries and photographs into a single suitcase and begins a journey of confrontation with her family, her harrowing past and the decisions she was forced to make. , a trip that ends at his mother’s house – the Navajo Reservation.
• “The Night Watchman” by Louise Erdrich. A historical novel based on the life of the National Book Award-winning author’s grandfather traces the experiences of a Chippewa Council night watchman in mid-19th-century rural North Dakota who fights Congress for uphold the treaty rights of Native Americans.
• “The Only Good Indians” by Stephen Graham Jones. Peter Straub’s “Ghost Story” meets Liane Moriarty’s “Big Little Lies” in this Native American horror tale of revenge on the Blackfoot Indian Reservation. Four Native Americans from the Blackfoot Nation, childhood friends, find themselves in a desperate fight for their lives, against an entity that wants revenge on them for what they did during an animal hunt. momentum ten years earlier by killing them, their families and friends.
If you have a question you’d like to see answered in this column, mail it to Nicole Fowles, Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware, OH 43015, or call us at 740-362 -3861. You can also email your questions by visiting the library website at www.delawarelibrary.org or directly to Nicole at [email protected] No matter how you contact us, we’re always happy to hear from you!