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There, There: A Novel

Tommy Orange
In conversation with Rigoberto González
Thursday, September 20, 2018
Episode Summary

Tommy Orange’s There There is an extraordinary portrait of America like we’ve never seen before. Orange, an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma who grew up in Oakland, brings an exhilaratingly fresh, urgent, and poetic voice to the disorienting experiences of urban Indians who struggle with the paradoxes of inhabiting traditions in the absence of a homeland, living both inside and outside of history. In his debut bestselling novel, a cast of 12 Native American characters each contending with their own demons converge and collide on the occasion of the Big Oakland Powwow. Orange visits the ALOUD stage following recent Indigenous authors Layli Long Soldier, Natalie Diaz, and Terese Marie Mailhot who are collectively redefining not only contemporary Native American writing, but the entire canon of American literature as we know it.


Participant(s) Bio

Tommy Orange is a recent graduate from the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. He is a 2014 MacDowell Fellow, and a 2016 Writing by Writers Fellow. He is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. He was born and raised in Oakland, California, and currently lives in Angels Camp, California.

Rigoberto González is the author of What Drowns the Flowers in Your Mouth: A Memoir of Brotherhood (March 2018) and four books of poetry, most recently Unpeopled Eden, which won the Lambda Literary Award and the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets. His twelve books of prose include two bilingual children’s books, the three YA novels in the Mariposa Club series, and four books of nonfiction, including Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa, which received the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. The recipient of Guggenheim, NEA and USA Rolón fellowships, he is contributing editor for Poets & Writers Magazine and writes a monthly column for NBC-Latino online. Currently, he is professor of English at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey, and the inaugural Stan Rubin Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the Rainier Writing Workshop. As of 2016, he serves as critic-at-large with the L.A. Times.