Africa has always been a literary treasure.
Mostly, though, our view of the continent – one that boasts vastly different cultures, from the desert tribes of the northeast to the jungle-dwelling residents of the equatorial region – has been shaped by outsiders.
Though Alexandra Fuller comes from colonial roots, and was born in England (in 1969), she’s hardly an outsider. She was 2 when her family moved to Zimbabwe (then called Rhodesia), and as she has shown in nonfiction books such as “Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight” and “Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier,” she knows an Africa that many of us wouldn’t recognize.
Fuller, who now lives in Wyoming, will read from her works – including, possibly, her latest book, a novel titled “The Legend of Colton H. Bryant” – at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Gonzaga University.
In an online interview with Portland’s Powell’s Books, Fuller described her two-fold intention in “Scribbling the Cat” as that of dropping the reader directly into the reality of harsh African existence and of trying to correct long-held images that no longer apply.
“This cold bath of reality is to shake people into the realization that this is not going to be a romantic handholding; this is really what it feels like to be there,” she said.
“The other thing I try to do is dispel the romantic myths of Africa, the ‘Out of Africa’ motif, which really exists only in safari camps anymore,” Fuller added. “Very few people live that existence.”
Fuller will appear at GU as part of the school’s 2008-2009 Visiting Writers Series. The reading, which is free and open to the public, will take place in GU’s Cataldo Globe Room.
Shakespeare and Co.
Two Gonzaga University professors, English Prof. Michael Pringle and philosophy Prof. Erik Schmidt, will engage in a discussion called “What Can We Learn From Shakespeare?” at 7 p.m. Monday in GU’s Jepson Center. Pringle will talk about Shakespeare’s literary talents, while Schmidt will address the writer’s works from a philosophical perspective.
The talk is free and open to the public. Call (509) 313-6750.
Spokane poet Dennis Held (“Betting on the Night”) is one of two Eastern Washington writers to place in the 2009 Jeanne Lohmann Poetry Prize competition, which is sponsored by the Olympia Poetry Network.
Held placed third with his poem “Matrimony.” Clarkston writer Boyd W. Benson won first prize for his poem “Leaves,” while Gig Harbor, Wash., writer Rachel Dilworth finished second for her poem “Valence.”
All won $200 and are invited to read their poems June 17 in Olympia.
•Two Spokane writers have had stories placed in “Chicken Soup” compilations. Spokesman-Review correspondent Cindy Hval had her story “Letting Go” included in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms.”
Jim Nelson had stories placed in two different “Chicken Soup” editions, “Loving Our Dogs” and “On Being a Parent.” Nelson also had a story in the March issue of Spokane Coeur d’Alene Living magazine.
Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public.
•Friends of the Cheney Community Library Book Discussion Group (“The White Cascade: The Great Northern Railway Disaster and America’s Deadliest Avalanche,” by Gary Krist), 7 p.m. Tuesday, Cheney branch of Spokane County Library, 610 First St., Cheney. Note: John Bastow will be discussion leader. Call Joan Tracy at (509) 235-4490.
•Deer Park branch of Spokane County Library Book Club (“Leaving Mother Lake: A Girlhood at the Edge of the World,” by Yang Erche Yamu), 1 p.m. Wednesday, 208 S. Forest Ave., Deer Park. Call (509) 893-8300.
•Spokane Valley branch of Spokane County Library Book Club (“Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel,” by Lisa See), 2 p.m. Wednesday, 12004 E. Main Ave., Spokane Valley. Call (509) 893-8400.
•Tinman Book Club (“The Shack,” by William P. Young), 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Tinman Gallery, 811 W. Garland Ave. Call (509) 325-1500.
•On Sacred Grounds Readers’ Club (“Map of Bones,” by James Rollins), 1 p.m. Wednesday, On Sacred Grounds, 12212 E. Palouse Highway. Call (509) 747-6294.
•Moran Prairie branch of Spokane County Library (“Suite Francaise,” by Irene Nemirovsky), 2 p.m. Thursday, 6004 S. Regal St. Call (509) 893-8340.
The reader board
•Michael O. Finley and Richard Scheuerman (“Finding Chief Kamiakin: The Life and Legacy of a Northwest Patriot”), reading, 12:30 p.m. today, Auntie’s Bookstore, Main and Washington. Call (509) 838-0206.
•Alexandra Fuller (“The Legend of Colton H. Bryant”), reading, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Cataldo Globe Room, Gonzaga University. Call (509) 313-6681.
•Roderick Stackelberg (“Third Reich: Hitler’s Germany,” 2nd revised edition), reading, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Auntie’s Bookstore.
•David Knibb (“Grizzly Wars: The Public Fight Over the Great Bear”), reading, 4 p.m. Tuesday, BookPeople, 521 S. Main St., Moscow, Idaho. Call (509) 882-7957.
•Benjamin Parzybok (“Couch”), reading, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Auntie’s Bookstore.
•B.H. Fairchild (“The Art of the Lathe”), reading, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, University of Idaho College of Law Courtroom. Call (208) 885-6156.
•Barbara Olivo Cagle (“16 X Mom: A Mastery of Motherhood”), reading, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Auntie’s Bookstore.
•Molly Gloss (“The Hearts of Horses”), reading, noon Saturday, BookPeople.
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