Author Sherman Alexie to kick off ‘Outlawed’ conference on campus

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Author Sherman Alexie to kick off ‘Outlawed’ conference on campus

Acclaimed author, poet and filmmaker Sherman Alexie will give a free, public talk to kick start the conference “Outlawed: The Naked Truth about Censored Literature for Young People” at Fresno State.

Alexie will talk about his life and experiences with censorship at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 9, in the Satellite Student Union. The event is sponsored and organized by the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature in the Henry Madden Library.

Alexie’s National Book Award-winning title, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian,” continues to be one of the most challenged and banned books for young adults in the nation. Semi-autobiographical, the book tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the reservation to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other American Indian is the school mascot.

Alexie, a Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian, is the author of numerous books and poetry collections including “What I’ve Stolen,” “What I’ve Earned,” “Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories,” and “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.” Alexie wrote the screenplay for the critically-acclaimed 1998 film “Smoke Signals,” based on his short story “This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona.” His many awards include the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction and a PEN/Hemingway Citation for Best First Fiction.

The conference will examine the various ways in which youth literature is censored and how it affects reading choices. The conference will take place April 10-12 and will feature some of the brightest stars of children’s literature including Jacqueline Woodson, Matt de la Peña, Lesléa Newman, Margarita Engle, Leonard Marcus and Michael Cart. Joan Bertin, director of the National Coalition Against Censorship, will also speak.

Sponsors for the event are: Fresno State Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Henry Madden Library, Prentise J. Womack Lecture Series, College of Social Sciences, College of Arts and Humanities, Kremen School of Education and Human Development, Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing, Associated Students, Inc., Fresno State American Indian Faculty and Staff Association, A Book Barn, Cinco Puntos Press and the Arne Nixon Center Advocates.

Guests for the Alexie event must purchase parking permits for $3 at dispensers located near campus entrances.

For more information, contact Jennifer Crow, curator of the Arne Nixon Center, at jcrow@csufresno.edu or 559.278.8116.

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