Next week I’ll be going to Spokane, Washington for the Get Lit! Festival. I’ll be participating in a panel discussion on Friday, 4/11:
Strangers in a Strange Land with David Abrams, Adrianne Harun, and Nathan Oates
Time: 12 p.m.
Venue: North Idaho College, Meyer Health & Sciences Bldg., Room 102
Fiction allows us to see the world from another person’s perspective, through their experiences in strange landscapes, new cultures, or bizarre situations—to follow them down the rabbit-hole, as it were. In David Abrams’ novel Fobbit, Staff Sergeant Chance Gooding Jr. finds himself in a combat zone for the first time, headquartered in a marble palace in Baghdad and sifting through reports of bombings, sniper kills, and dismemberments in order to draft patriotic press releases about the war. Adrianne Harun’s novel A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain centers on a group of young people in an isolated logging town, who must reckon with enigmatic strangers appearing just as Native girls are vanishing from their midst. In The Empty House by Nathan Oates, characters often travel to far-off places in an effort to escape themselves, seeking comfort in the foreign but finding themselves strangers in their own lives. These authors will discuss ways of exploring “strangeness” in fiction, and how they each use it as a tool for evoking larger truths. Moderated by fiction writer and NIC faculty member Jonathan Frey.
And on Saturday, 4/12 I’ll be doing a reading:
David Abrams and Nathan Oates
Most of us have a hunger for newness: An urge to see new places. A desire to walk on new ground. There’s something about being somewhere we’ve never been that makes us look at people a bit closer, and to look inward with a brand new intensity. It’s perhaps no stretch to assume that this is one of the reasons David Abrams spent 20 years as a journalist in the active-duty army. His newest book, Fobbit, comes from a journal he kept during a year-long tour in Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The effect of this novel is somewhat surprising: It’s hilarious. Abrams lets us into the dirty little secrets of military subculture and the humor his protagonist must find in order to make it home. Nathan Oates’ characters also are on a quest for newness. They are constantly on the move, have a bad habit of trying to escape, and an even worse habit of finding a truer version of themselves before the end. Oates’ short story collection, The Empty House, was the winner of the 2012 Spokane Prize. These authors show us characters outside of their elements, wading through new places and experiences, and new ways of looking inward.
Time: 1-2 p.m.
Room: Conference Theater, Main Level
Venue: Spokane Convention Center
Cost: Free and open to the public