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 Nationally Known Native-American Speaker Coming to SRU April 22 



April 1, 2003

CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine (724) 738-4854;  e-mail:


           SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Native-American author and speaker Sherman Alexie, heralded byThe New Yorker as one of the “top 20 writers for the 21st century,” comes to Slippery Rock UniversityApril 22 for a public discussion of his work and life on and off the reservation.

            Alexie, a Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, will speak 8 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Roomof the University Union. General admission is $5, students $3. He presentation is titled “The Business of Fancy Dancing: Poems, Stories, Punch Lines and Highly Biased Anecdotes.”

            Alexie’s visit is the kickoff event for “Kaleidoscope,” Slippery Rock University’s April 22 to May 2 arts festival. Concerts, children’s activities, art exhibitions, Civil War encampments and more are on tap. Visit, or call 724-738-4863 for a complete listing.

 National reputation

            Alexie’s ability to write about contemporary Native Americans by enfolding optimism with hard-hitting cynicism is one of the strengths that have made critics rave about his work.  The New Yorker said his stories are woven into “the most lyrical acerbic fiction since Mark Twain.” The Boston Globe reported, “Sherman Alexie has become quite clearly an important voice in American literature.” 

            Alexie’s 14 books of fiction and poetry include “Reservation Blues,” “Indian Killer” and “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.” His two films are “Smoke Signals” and “The Business of Fancy Dancing.” His work has won scores of awards, including the American Book Award and the PEN/Hemingway and Sundance Film Festival awards.

            Slippery Rock University’s English honorary students who saw Alexie speak at the National Council of Teachers of English Conference last year made a specific request for his performance this year, says SRU’s Dr. Rachela Permenter, professor of English.

 Permenter said one student told her “he was absolutely hilarious in person, which you don’t expect from a writer.  More than that, he lets us know what’s really going on with Native Americansand he seems to offer all of us the chance to find new meaning in the stories of our own lives.”

            After his performance, Alexie will sign copies of his books for those who bring them.  The SGA Bookstore will set up a booth to make books and videotapes available for purchase.  A portion of the profits will be donated to the American Indian Scholarship Fund.   

PN, PgN, PR, PT        


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