An absolutely true conversation with Sherman Alexie

BookFest St. Louis headliner Sherman Alexie was recently featured in St. Louis Magazine, where he discussed “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” and more with culture editor Stefene Russell.

From the article:

“Open the cover of the 10th-anniversary edition of ‘The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,’ and you’re staring at a flyleaf that reads: ‘I grabbed my book and opened it up. I wanted to smell it. Heck, I wanted to kiss it. Yes, kiss it. That’s right, I am a book kisser. Maybe that’s kind of perverted or maybe it’s just highly INTELLIGENT.

When ‘Part-Time Indian’ came out in 2007, it won a National Book Award; enraged throngs of neo-Puritans, who sought to ban it; and most importantly, created a new generation of book-kissers. While it could only win the National Book Award once, it’s still charming young readers (and…shhh…grown-up ones) as well as sending repressed, uptight folks into apoplectic fits. (About a half-dozen attempts to ban it have been made in 2017 alone). This year, that classic YA novel found its adult counterpart in Alexie’s memoir, ‘You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,’ which recounts Alexie’s complicated relationship with his mom, Lillian. Moving back and forth between poetry and prose, it shimmers with the same humor, crafty storytelling and weird lyricism of ‘Part-Time Indian,’ telling some of the same stories, but on a larger canvas and in starker tones.

Earlier this summer, Alexie took a break from the book tour for that memoir, overwhelmed with grief and feeling haunted by his mother. After several weeks of reading, writing, couch-napping and basketball — and deciding not to read from the memoir, with the exception of two final events — he’s back on the road. He’s also headed to St. Louis for the first-ever BookFest (where there will be more than a few book-kissers). A joint project of Left Bank Books and the Central West End Community Improvement District, BookFest aims to be a sort of LouFest of books, bringing together the best national, regional and local writers.

Alexie is serving as keynote guy on Sept. 22 with An Evening With Sherman Alexie at the Sheldon Concert Hallhe’ll also appear as part of a YA panel with Zac Brewer and Nina LaCour on Saturday. We talked to him about the 10th-anniversary edition of ‘Part-Time Indian,’ the new memoir, movies, feminism, music, political resistance and the next wave of Native fiction writers.”

Read the full article at stlmag.com.


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