Robert H. Ruby, one of the region’s foremost writers on tribal history, will make a special appearance at Eastern Washington University for the launch of his latest book, “A Doctor Among the Oglala Sioux Tribe: The Letters of Robert H. Ruby, 1953-1954” (University of Nebraska Press).
Ruby was the chief medical officer for the Bureau of Indian Affairs on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1953 and 1954. These letters chronicle life at a critical time in the reservation’s history.
He went on to practice medicine in Moses Lake and to write or co-write numerous books on American Indians, including “The Spokane Indians: Children of the Sun” and “The Chinook Indians: Traders of the Lower Columbia River.”
Joining Ruby will be Charles Mutschler, the university’s archivist and the co-editor of “A Doctor Among the Oglala Sioux Tribe.”
Their presentation will be Thursday from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Faculty Reading Room at EWU’s JFK Library, followed by a book signing.
It’s free and open to the public.
Get Lit! and the Big Read
Here’s some good news for the 2011 version of Get Lit!.
Spokane’s premier literary festival has won a $17,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in conjunction with the communitywide Big Read.
This grant will fund Get Lit! events and programs connected with Spokane’s Big Read book for 2011, “The Things They Carried,” a Vietnam War-themed novel by Tim O’Brien.
Expect to see a flurry of talks, readings, movies, panels and other events in March and April, similar to the events for this year’s Big Read book, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
The 2011 Big Read will be a collaboration between Spokane area libraries, Fairchild Air Force Base and area schools and colleges.
‘An Eagle Named Freedom’
Author Jeff Guidry of Monroe, Wash., will read from his new book, “An Eagle Named Freedom: My True Story of a Remarkable Friendship” (William Morrow) at Auntie’s Bookstore, 402 W. Main Ave., on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
The book is about the friendship that developed between Guidry, a former rock guitarist who was working as a volunteer at the Sarvey Wildlife Center in Arlington, Wash., and an eagle with two broken wings.
Guidry helped nurse the eagle back to health – and, remarkably, it inspired him in his struggle against cancer.
Just as remarkable is the way this story came to light. Guidry wrote an 800-word e-mail to a friend, who forwarded it to some more friends. Before long, it was forwarded around the world. More than 10,000 people wrote back to Guidry.
Publishers became interested and now he has expanded the story to book length.
Lilac Festival poet
Did you know that there is an official Lilac Festival Poet?
Neither did I, but this year’s poet is James Vasquez of Spokane. He’s a retired University of Washington professor, a doctor of divinity and a published poet.
Each year the Poetry Scribes of Spokane choose a poet to write a poem based on the festival’s theme. This year’s theme is “Freedom is Not Free.”
Vasquez will be a special guest at the Lilac Festival’s Associated Garden Club Luncheon at the Davenport Hotel, 10 S. Post St., on Monday at noon. He will read his poem on that theme as part of the luncheon festivities. The luncheon is already booked solid, by the way.
Beacon Hill reading
Four local writers and poets – Connie Wasem, Shawn Vestal, Iris Gribble-Neal and Tom Davis – will be the featured readers at “An Evening of Poetry and Prose,” as part of the Beacon Hill Reading Series.
It takes place Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. at Spokane Community College’s Hagan Foundation Center for the Humanities (library second floor, Building 16), 1810 N. Greene St.
It’s free, and you’ll hear some new poetry and short stories.
One more reading of note: Lydia Millet, winner of the 2003 PEN-USA Award for Fiction, will be at Auntie’s Bookstore, Friday at 7 p.m.
She’ll read from her latest story collection, “Love in Infant Monkeys,” and perhaps from her earlier books as well, including “My Happy Life,” which was the PEN-USA Winner.
This event is sponsored by EWU’s Inland Northwest Center for Writers.