Spokane" and "art mecca" aren't usually found in the same sentence. But word by word, book by book, the two are growing closer together these days as the local community stands in support of artists and authors. Every word counts.
Next Thursday, a meet the authors event at the Reid House in Browne's Addition will provide Spokane another opportunity to display its growing faith in the local arts. A joint venture between EWU Press and the Reid House, the open house event will give people a chance to interact with local poets and writers.
"I'm confident this will be a fun event for people," says Dale Forbes, owner of the Reid House and herself a writer. Forbes approached the EWU Press and offered to host the event in hopes of featuring local writers. "They're a good outfit -- a very interesting academic press. They do a wide range of authors, and they published eight of the novelists that will be at this event."
The public is invited for high tea, high chat and a great literary experience in the holiday spirit. Each author will be given a room of their own in the Reid House, where they will be available to talk, sign books and perhaps read from their latest works.
"This is going to be a really neat deal, having authors in different rooms -- it sure sounds like fun," says Terry Davis, author of Vision Quest in the 1980s and more recently, a biography entitled Presenting Chris Crutcher. Davis will also read from his new collection of short fiction called All American Boy.
"I grew up here, I love being here," says Davis. "There's such a devoted writing community in Spokane."
Among the authors is Chris Crutcher himself, a well-known writer of young adult fiction. Crutcher, who lives in Spokane, creates his stories in part based on his work as a child and family therapist.
"I think he's the most beloved young adult writer in the United States," says Davis. "If Crutcher were not confined to the young adult market, he would be the Jean Shepherd of the 21st century in America -- he would be that popular. He's a wonderful writer and has an enormous devotion to kids."
Crutcher has received numerous awards for his young adult fiction, which includes Ironman, Running Loose and Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, which is in the process of being set to film. A volume of his short stories, Athletic Shorts, has already made it to the screen in the movie Angus. Crutcher will read from a variety of works, including possibly an excerpt from his new novel Whale Talk.
"He writes the kind of thing an adult reader as well as a child would want to read," says Forbes.
Other books to be featured at the Reid House include Dale Forbes' novel On Exhibition, Tom Davis' book of poetry entitled The Little Spokane and Christopher Howell's collection of poetry, Memory in Heaven. Perry Higman will read from a set of translated poems from Spanish America and Spain, including a bilingual volume for children entitled, They Dream, They Sing, They Cry.
Various historical narratives are also part of the literary line up. Keith Quincy's Harvesting Pa Chay's Wheat traces the haunting story of the Hmong people in southern Vietnam from 1900 to 1998, from their experiences in Laos to their resettlement in America.
"Quincy's been getting death threats on it," says Forbes. "The people involved aren't very happy."
Irv Broughton will read from Hanger Talk, which features a series of interviews with the most acclaimed pilots of our time -- including those involved in the bombing of Hiroshima. Out of the Channel, a book by John Keeble, recounts the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
All books by the featured authors will be available for sale and signing, and a wrapping and mailing station will be provided on site for those ready to get their holiday shopping boxed and sent. While the event is free to the public, donations benefiting the EWU Press are appreciated.
Scott Poole -- a graduate of Eastern's MFA creative writing program -- will read from his first book of poems, The Cheap Seats, as well as from Carry a Glass House, his upcoming collection of poems scheduled for 2002 from Lost Horse Press in Sandpoint. The style of both books slants toward a kind of humorous, realistic poetry. Poole currently works as the assistant director of the EWU Press.
"We haven't had a Christmas literary event yet in this town," says Poole, "so this is a great opportunity for people to come and get special gifts for Christmas --books signed by the author. And it's also a great local showcase of writers and a chance for people to come in and have a good conversation with them. As far as the local writers that still live here, this is as good as you're gonna get, so if people want to support Spokane writers -- this is a great way to do it."
& & & lt;i & Meet the Authors is Thursday, Dec. 14, from 4-8 pm at the Reid House in Browne's Addition, 2315 W. First Ave. Free and open to the public. Call 838-9138. & lt;/i & & lt;/center &