November 13, 2011 in Features

Book Notes: Orlean, Whitehead top Get Lit! lineup

By The Spokesman-Review

Some big literary names have been booked into Eastern Washington University’s Get Lit! Festival, coming April 11-15:

Susan Orlean, author of “The Orchid Thief” and the just-released “Rin Tin Tin: Life and Legend,” the biography of the famous movie dog. The latter is poised to be one of the best-selling books of the season.

Colson Whitehead, author of “Sag Harbor,” “The Intuitionist” and the new “Zone One,” an ironic take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel.

Ted Kooser, former U.S. Poet Laureate.

Rick Bass, author of “The Wild Marsh” and many other meditative books about the West and its natural history.

Lois Lowry, the Newberry Award-winning young adult author.

Steve Almond, author of “Candyfreak” and “God Bless America: Stories.”

Jess Walter, Spokane novelist and National Book Award finalist.

This impressive lineup makes the Festival Pass look like an excellent option at $45. You can get them through TicketsWest outlets (800-325-SEAT,

A big readings week

Three significant names in American literature will be making separate appearances in Spokane this week:

Debra Gwartney, Friday, 7 p.m., Auntie’s Bookstore, 402 W. Main Ave. – Gwartney is the author of “Live Through This: A Mother’s Memoir of Runaway Daughters and Reclaimed Love.” It’s based on an acclaimed first-person story she first told on public radio’s “This American Life” in 2002, about moving to a new life in Eugene, Ore., and the subsequent unraveling of her family.

Gwartney lives in Oregon with her husband, the author Barry Lopez. This free reading is sponsored by Eastern Washington University.

Antonya Nelson, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., Gonzaga University’s Visiting Writers Series, Cataldo Globe Room – Nelson is an acclaimed writer of novels and short stories whose work has been in the New Yorker and Harper’s, among others.

Her most recent novel is “Bound” (Bloomsbury USA, $25). She divides her time between Telluride, Colo., and Houston, where she teaches at the University of Houston. The reading is free.

Patrick Madden, Friday, 7 p.m., Whitworth University’s Lied Center for the Visual Arts, Room 102 – Madden is a well-known essayist whose collection “Quotidiana” (University of Nebraska Press) was a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award. He also curates an online anthology of classical essays by such masters of the form as Samuel Johnson and Montaigne at

Madden teaches at Brigham Young University and Vermont College. This free appearance is Whitworth’s annual Endowed English Reading event.

Basketball-playing authors

Maybe you’ve already heard about this hoops-related literary event at the University of Idaho, but here’s a reminder:

HooPalousa, a five-on-five basketball game featuring authors Sherman Alexie, Jess Walter, Shann Ray Ferch, Buddy Levy and many others, takes place on Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. at the UI’s Memorial Gym in Moscow.

There will be a few ringers on the court as well, including former Gonzaga University star David Pendergraft.

This is all to bring attention to Native American Heritage Month and to a proposed American Indian Graduate Fellowship Fund in creative writing. The teams will also include a number of tribal representatives.

The event pits the Spokane Dirty Realists vs. the Moscow SuperSonnets. It’s all free and touted as “serious fun for a serious cause.”

Todd Finkle’s ‘Entrepreneurs’

Gonzaga University’s Todd Finkle will discuss his new book, “Lessons Learned from Leading Entrepreneurs: Case Studies in Business and Entrepreneurship” (Finkle & Associates, $49.99) at Auntie’s Bookstore on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Finkle has excellent credentials as an authority on entrepreneurship. He’s Gonzaga’s Piggott Professor of Entrepreneurship and has started four businesses himself. He recently led his students on a visit to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway’s world headquarters.

His book draws on lessons from entrepreneurs such as Buffett and Steve Jobs.

Into the Poole

Congratulations to Scott Poole, whose poem “The Bible” was featured Wednesday on public radio’s “The Writer’s Almanac,” hosted by Garrison Keillor.

Poole’s volume “The Sliding Glass Door” was published this year by Colonus Publishing in Spokane.

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