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Book Notes: One-time prisoner Baca to speak at GU

SUNDAY, OCT. 24, 2010

Jimmy Santiago Baca, who emerged from a maximum-security prison to become a novelist, poet and playwright, arrives in Spokane on Tuesday as part of the Gonzaga University Visiting Writers Series.

Baca was an orphan, a runaway and a felon in New Mexico – and then literature changed his life. First he became a voracious reader of poetry and fiction and then he began to write.

He went on win the Pushcart Prize and the American Book Award, among others. His best-known books include “Immigrants in Our Own Land” and his memoir, “A Place to Stand.”

Baca now devotes his life to teaching others who are undergoing hardships. His themes include “barrios, addiction, injustice, education, community, love and beyond.”

Hear him on Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. in the Cataldo Globe Room at Gonzaga University. What should be an uncommonly wide-ranging talk is free and open to the public.


Does the name Dana Haynes ring a bell?

No, not that Dana Haynes. (See the item about the former TV newswoman in today’s Spotlight column in this section.)

We’re talking about the Portland author. He works for Portland Community College and has just written a provocative thriller titled “Crashers” (Minotaur Books, $24.99).

It’s about a plane crash near Portland. Investigators discover that it wasn’t an accident – and more disasters are on the way.

It’s Haynes’ first novel, yet it had a huge first printing and a sequel is already in the works.

And if his name rings a bell, it may be because he’s originally from Spokane. He’s a graduate of Lewis and Clark High School.

He’ll read from his novel at Auntie’s Bookstore, 402 W. Main Ave., today at 12:30 p.m.

‘Treadwell Gold’

Author and Spokane native Sheila Kelly will be in Auntie’s Bookstore on Friday to talk about her new history book, “Treadwell Gold: An Alaskan Saga of Riches and Ruin” (University of Alaska Press, $35).

It’s about the Alaska mining town of Treadwell, not far from Juneau, and its rise in the 1880s and decline through the 1910s. The book sheds light on a colorful and forgotten chapter of Alaska history.

Kelly came by the story naturally. She is the daughter of Raymond F. Kelly, who was born and raised in the company town of Treadwell.

He moved to Spokane in 1918 and became a well-known Spokane County Superior Court judge and Gonzaga Law School professor.

Sheila Kelly was born and raised in Spokane and once won first place for column-writing in the Spokane Junior Press Club Competition. Now she lives in Seattle and works with environmental and youth organizations – but she’s still putting those writing talents to work.

Hear Kelly’s talk on Friday, 7 p.m. at Auntie’s.

Spokane and World War II

Spokane author Carolyn Hage Nunemaker will be at Auntie’s on Wednesday at 7 p.m. to discuss her new large-format local history book, “Spokane and the Inland Northwest During World War II” (Gray Dog Press, $14.95).

Nunemaker, whose previous book was “Downtown Spokane Images 1930-1949,” focuses on our region during wartime.

She includes short chapters on such subjects as the Farragut Naval Training Station, the Geiger air base, Baxter Hospital (which evolved into the Spokane Veterans Administration Medical Center), Japanese internment camps, and Bella Vista in Missoula, where Italian detainees were held.

‘Spirits Loos’ed’

Six Spokane poets will collaborate with the Spokane Area Children’s Chorus for an event called “Spirits Loos’ed: A Celebration of the Human Spirit in Poetry and Song” on Saturday at Westminster Congregational United Church of Christ, 411 S. Washington St.

Zan Agzigian, Tom Davis, Iris Gribble-Neal, Tod Marshall, Gina Strachino and John Whalen will read from their works. The chorus, which rehearses at the church, will join in for some songs.

There will also be a family-friendly open mike for audience members to read a favorite poem. Light refreshments will be served.

This free event takes place Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m.

Terry Tempest Williams

A reminder for admirers of Terry Tempest Williams’ nature writing: She’ll be the speaker at the Inland Northwest Land Trust luncheon fundraiser on Nov. 1 at noon at the Lincoln Center, 1316 N. Lincoln St. A book signing will follow.

Williams is one of the best-known nature/environmental writers in the country. Tickets are $45 in advance, available by calling (509) 328-2939, or $50 at the door.

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