Author of controversial ‘Part-Time Indian’ novel coming to Boise

Sherman Alexie, whose novel “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” created controversy after the Meridian School District pulled it off a 10th grade supplemental reading list earlier this year, is coming to Boise in March.

He is part of The Cabin’s 2014-2015 Readings & Conversations, which will bring three other nationally known authors as part of its series.

Tickets for individual events will go on sale a month before they happen. Right now, you can only purchase season tickets.

Alexie will be at the Egyptian Theater on March 11.

Negotiations between Alexie and The Cabin have been going on for more than a year, well before the recent dustup, said Britt Udesen, Cabin executive director.

“His name had been suggested by librarians, bookstore owners and readers from all over,” she said. “He is recognized as one of the most important writers of our time.”

Alexie’s book is about a Native American teen who grows up on the Spokane reservation, but decides to attend an all-white high school in a nearby town. The book details harsh life on the reservation, the ill affects of alcohol abuse and the racism that Native Americans can encounter off the reservation.

“Part-Time Indian” is regularly high on the list of books that are challenged in the country each year. It ranked No. 2 on the American Library Association’s list of challenged books in 2012.

Some parents in Meridian School District argued for the book’s removal saying it discussed masturbation, contained profanity and took a poke at Christianity.

Two Washington women, unhappy with the district’s decision, purchased 350 copies and worked with a local bookstore to distribute them in a Meridian park on Wednesday.

Other authors coming as part of the series are:

– Erik Larson, author of “Devil in the White City,” about a serial killer at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.

– Chris Abani, a novelist, poet and essayist.

– Karen Russell, whose book “Swamplandia!” was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2012.

Posted in In The Classroom