Author Interview

Hilton Als has been a contributor to The New Yorker since 1989 and a staff writer there since 1994. He has been the recipient of many awards for his theatre and arts criticism and other writings including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2000 and Lambda Literary’s Trustee Award for Excellence in Literature, which he received in 2016. He won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2017. He’s also a curator, artist, and playwright and the author of two books which bleed together memoir, criticism and cultural commentary, The Women, published in 1996, and 2013’s White Girls. Als is also an associate professor of writing at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and has taught at Yale University, Wesleyan, and Smith College.

Enduring Freedom tells the story of an unlikely friendship between two teenagers, one an American Soldier, and the other an Afghan civilian. Both lives are turned upside down by the terrorist attack of September 11th, 2001, and then thrown together by the war that followed. The story is inspired by the authors' real-life experiences and friendship.

Born in El Paso, Texas, Luis J. Rodriguez grew up in Watts and East Los Angeles. A gang member and drug user at the age of twelve, by the time he turned eighteen, Rodríguez had lost twenty-five of his friends to gang violence, drug overdoses, shootings, and suicide. He’s the author of two award-winning autobiographical accounts of his experiences with gang violence and addiction, It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing and Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A. 

Rodriguez is also the author of several other books of poetry and prose, including most recently, From Our Land to Our Land: Essays, journeys and imaginings from a native Xicanx writer.

Melissa Heale

Kate Lebo is the author of the cookbook, Pie School and the poetry chapbook Seven Prayers to Cathy McMorris Rodgers. She's also the coeditor with Samuel Ligon of Pie & Whiskey: Writers Under the Influence of Butter and Booze as well as cohost of the popular Pie & Whiskey events at Spokane's Get Lit! festival and elsewhere. 

Kate Lebo’s new book is The Book of Difficult Fruit: Arguments for the Tart, Tender, and Unruly (With Recipes). She’ll be hosting a multi-bookstore virtual release extravaganza with Auntie's, Third Place Books, Village Books, and Browser's books on Monday April 5th, 2021 at 6 p.m.

Tracy K. Smith's poetry collection, Life on Mars won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for poetry and from 2017 to 2019, she served as Poet Laureate of the United States. She has also published a memoir, Ordinary Light, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her newest collection of poetry is Wade in the Water, published in 2018. Public Radio listeners may also recognize her voice as the host of The Slowdown, a radio program and podcast which invited listeners to see the world in a different way, through poetry. 

Smith is a professor at Princeton University and on Wednesday, March 10th, she'll be hosting a virtual event with Spokane Community College’s Hagan Center for the Humanities speakers series “Diversity Dialogues, Conversations About Race and Equity."

Dr. Anu Taranath is a professor at the University of Washington where she teaches on global literature, identity, race, and equity. She is the author of the book, Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel in an Unequal World, as well as a consultant for schools, colleges, libraries, community organizations, and government agencies on social justice and global issues.

Taranath hosted a virtual event as part of Spokane Community College’s Hagan Center for the Humanities Speaker Series "Diversity Dialogues: Conversations About Race and Equity" for which Spokane Public Radio is a media partner. The title of her talk is "Tangled: Why Your Hair Matters to Society."

Melanie Dunea

Kevin Young is the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and poetry editor of The New Yorker. From 2016-2020 he served as the director of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. He is the author of thirteen books of poetry and prose, most recently, the poetry collection Brown and the nonfiction book Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts & Fake News. He is also the editor of the anthology African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song.

Young was a featured in the Spokane Community College’s Hagan Center for the Humanities  "Diversity Dialogues: Conversations About Race and Equity."

Blue Flower Arts

Claudia Rankine, a poet, essayist and professor at Yale University. Her 2014 book Citizen: An American Lyric which explores the relentless, personal effects of microaggressions and everyday racism was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry. In her latest book, Just Us:An American Conversation, Rankine sets out to have uncomfortable conversations with white people about race and how (or whether) they perceive their own whiteness. 

 Using funds from her 2016 MacArthur Fellowship, Rankine founded the The Racial Imaginary Institute, an interdisciplinary center for writers, artists, and scholars to examine artists' whiteness and race as social constructs. She was the 20201 year’s guest for Gonzaga University’s 4th Annual Race & Racism Lecture.

Kathryn Smith a poet and mixed media artist based in Spokane, WA. She is the author of the poetry collection Book of Exodus and the chapbook Chosen Companions of the Goblin. Her newest collection Self-Portrait with Cephalopod, won Copper Nickel’s 2019 Jake Adam York Prize, and will be released by Milkweed Editions on February 9th, 2021

Daudi Abe is a Seattle-based professor, writer, and historian who has taught and written about culture, race, gender, education, communication, hip-hop, and sports for over 20 years. His latest book is Emerald Street: A History of Hip Hop in Seattle. Abe is one of this year’s speakers at the Hagan Center for the Humanities at Spokane Community College for their series: Diversity Dialogues: Conversations About Race and Equity.

Marlon James is the author of four novels including A Brief History of Seven Killings, which won the 2015 Man Booker Prize, and most recently Black Leopard, Red Wolf, which was a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award. The novel is the first in a planned epic fantasy trilogy set in an ancient, mythical Africa. A profile in the New Yorker called it a novel that “counters the dominant impression of the genre it inhabits. Instead of kings with swords and flaxen-haired princesses, the novel contains pitch-skinned witches haloed in bees, and vampires that turn your blood into blue lightning, and demons that come screeching across rooftops in the dark.”

 James is the first of this year’s Hagan Center Speakers Series presented by Community Colleges of Spokane. The topic this year is "Diversity Dialogues: Conversations About Race and Equity.” Marlon James will be hosting a live virtual event on Wednesday, January 20th at 5 p.m. Spokane Public Radio is the Speaker Series’ media partner.

Penguin Random House


A. Kendra Greene is a writer and artist who has worked at the Chicago History museum, the University of Iowa museum and the Dallas Museum of art, where was a writer in residence. She holds an MFA in nonfiction and a graduate certificate in book arts from the University of Iowa, and she lives in Dallas where she is a visiting assistant professor at the University of Texas. 

Greene’s latest book is The Museum of Whales You’ll Never See, a collection of essays and drawings recounting her excursions to some of the most unusual museums in Iceland including the Icelandic Phallological Museum, which boasts a collection of penises from every mammal known to exist in the country and the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft.

Greene is the first of this year’s Visiting Writers at Eastern Washington University. She’ll be hosting a virtual event, open to the public on Friday, November 13th at 7:30 p.m.

Rajah Bose


Jess Walter's new novel, The Cold Millions is set in Spokane during the labor disputes of the early 20th century. Hailed by The Philadelphia Inquirer as "A Scorsese-esque period piece, populated by cops, drunks, variety girls, temperance ladies, job sharks, Pinkertons, and Wobblies” The novel follows two adventure seeking brothers, the wealthy enemies who threaten them, and the women who reveal to them an unjust world on the brink of upheaval.

Jess Walter lives in his hometown, Spokane, and he joined SPR's Chris Maccini to talk about the new novel.

Vanessa Veselka. She is the author of the novel Zazen, which won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for debut fiction. Her new novel is The Great Offshore Grounds, a sweeping story of a family drama tackling social status, death, love, femininity, American greed and mythology, the current state of the US healthcare system, sky-high rents, and the struggle to get by.

leynakrow.com

 


It’s not often that a short story, written by a local author and first published in a local anthology gets optioned by a Hollywood production company to be made into a feature film. But that’s just what’s happened to Spokane author Leyna Krow.

 

In this re-broadcast of "Inalnd Northwest Voices" from 1983, SPR's Phyllis Silver talks with renowned poet James McAuley.

In this re-broadcast of "Inalnd Northwest Voices" from 1983, SPR's Phyllis Silver talks with renowned poet James McAuley.

Brooke Matson is a poet and book artist in Spokane, Washington, where she is the executive director of Spark Central, a non-profit dedicated to igniting creativity, innovation, and imagination. Eight years of teaching and mentoring at-risk youth deepened her study of physical science and the psychological effects of violence and loss. 

Matson's second collection of poetry, In Accelerated Silence, was selected by Mark Doty as winner of the Jake Adam York Prize and has just been published by Milkweed Editions. 

photo by Grace June (2019)

Erin Pringle is the author of a novel, Hezada! I Miss You (forthcoming Awst Press, 2020) and two short story collections, The Whole World at Once (West Virginia University Press/Vandalia Press 2017) and The Floating Order (Two Ravens Press, 2009). She has written three chapbooks: "How The Sun Burns Among Hills of Rock and Pebble" (The Head and The Hand Press, Philadelphia/2015); "The Lightning Tree" (Underground Voices, 2015); and "The Wandering House" (Awst Press, Austin/2016).

Cameron McGill is a poet, educator, and musician living in Moscow, ID. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Sonora Review, RHINO, Western Humanities Review, and elsewhere. His chapbook, Meridians, will be published on February 1 by Willow Springs Books. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Idaho and teaches at Washington State University, where he serves as poetry editor of Blood Orange Review and co-director of the Visiting Writer Series. His work lives at cameronmcgill.com.

Christopher Boucher is the author of the widely praised novels Golden Delicious and How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive. Boucher teaches literature and writing at Boston college and is editor the literary magazine Post Road. He was in Spokane as part of Eastern Washington University Visiting Writers Series.

Dean Davis

Christopher Howell is the author of twelve collections of poetry including Love’s Last Number, Gaze, and most recently, The Grief of a Happy Life, just released by University of Washington Press. Howell has received numerous awards including the Washington State Governor’s Award, the Washington State Book Award, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and three Pushcart Prizes. Locally, he is known as a faculty member in Eastern Washington University’s Master of Fine Arts program as well as director of Willow Springs Books and Lynx House Press.

Gordon S. Jackson, is the author of the new novel, Never Say Moist at Wyndover College. Jackson taught journalism at Whitworth University for more than 30 years. He grew up in South Africa during the apartheid era, encountering the sensorship that subsequently promted him to promote free expression in the classroom and in his writing. Never Say Moist at Wyndover College is Jackson’s fourteenth book, and his second novel. 

Timothy Egan is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of nine books including The Big Burn, Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher, The Immortal Irishman, and The Worst Hard Time, which won the 2006 National Book Award for non-fiction. His new book, A Pilgrimage to Eternity: From Canterbury to Rome in Search of a Faith, follows Egan on a personal journey of more than 1000 miles as he considers his own faith and traces the history of Christianity in Europe along the way.

Kathryn Smith's new chapbook, Chosen Companions of the Goblin, won the 2018 Open Country Chapbook Contest. It is inspired by the real-life story of the Fox Sisters, who claimed to be spiritual mediums and helped spark the spiritualist movment in 19th century America. 

She will be hosting a release party for the book, on Friday, October 25, 7 p.m. at the Woman's Club of Spokane, 1428 W 9th Ave.

Rebekah Crane is the author of several critically acclaimed young adult novels, including The Infinite Pieces of UsThe Upside of Falling Down, and The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland. She is a former high school English teacher who found a passion for writing young adult fiction while studying secondary English education at Ohio University. She is a yoga instructor and the mother of two girls. After living and teaching in six different cities, Rebekah finally settled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to write novels and work on screenplays. She now spends her days tucked behind a laptop at seventy-five hundred feet, where the altitude only enhances the writing experience.

Shann Ray is a poet, short story writer, and novelist who grew up in Montana and Alaska and spent part of his childhood on the Northern Cheyenne reservation. He is the author of seven books including most recently a short story collection, Blood Fire Vapor Smoke and a poetry collection, Sweetclover, both of which were published this year.

Steve Almond is the author of ten books of fiction and non-fiction including the New York Times best-sellers, Candyfreak and Against Football. He was also the host of the popular podcast Dear Sugars with fellow author Cheryl Strayed.

Almond's latest book, William Stoner and the Battle for the Inner Life is part of the "Bookmarked" series from Ig Publishers, in which authors talk about their favorite novels and how they've impacted their life and work. The subject of Almond's book is the 1965 novel Stoner by John Williams. 

Spokane Public Radio

McCarrthy moved to idaho in 1977 to work trail crew in the Selway-Bitteroot Wilderness for the U.S. Forest Service. He later ran a range crew and worked on ranches in Hells Canyon and the Salmon River country. He started writing about winderness as a reporter for he Lewiston Morning Tribune, where he also covered cops, courts, arts, and agriculture for 10 years. He swited to environmental organizing and advocacy for two decades, as the conservation director for the Idaho Conservation league and Idaho Forest campaign durector for the Wilderness Society.

John Keeble is the author of eight books, including the new novel The Appointment: The Tale of Adaline Carson, a fictionalized account of the daughter of the famous frontiersman Kit Carson. His previous novels include Yellowfish, Broken Ground and The Shadows of Owls. His short fiction collection, Nocturnal America, won the Prairie Schooner Prize for short fiction and was published by the University of Nebraska press. He is also the author of Out of the Channel, the definitive study of the Exxon Valdez disaster.

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