by Inlander Staff

Crowning Crutcher -- The Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association show every spring brings the bestowal of the PNBA Book Awards, and this year we're delighted that Spokane's own Chris Crutcher is to be a recipient for his Young Adult novel Whale Talk. Crutcher has always combined keen, compassionate observations with his trademark smart-ass wit in his previous work, including the novels Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, Athletic Shorts and Ironman. Set in Spokane (as many of his books are), Whale Talk tells the story of a high school swim team comprised of misfits, outcasts and those of dubious athletic ability. There's even a pivotal scene in the book that takes place during Hoopfest -- how's that for local color? This year's spring PNBA Show takes place at the Coeur d'Alene Resort March 23-25, and while it's not open to the public, you might be able to catch Crutcher later this year at bookstores with the release of Whale Talk in paperback.

Mystery Lady -- If Anne Perry's name sounds familiar (see story, page 28), it's probably because she was one of the two young girls who inspired the film Heavenly Creatures -- which launched the directing career of Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) and the acting career of Kate Winslet (Titanic). In the film, which was inspired by actual events, the two girls cause the death of one of the girls' mothers. Understandably, it's a touchy subject for Perry, although she did address it publicly when the film debuted back in 1994. These days, Perry no longer discusses it, preferring to let her writing become the focal point. And with her new novel Southampton Row climbing the New York Times Bestseller List (now at No. 5), it seems it's long since time to move on.

Eagles' Flight -- This time of year it's easy to get crazy about the Bulldogs, but there's another local team that is doing the region proud: the Eastern Washington University Eagles. Last weekend, EWU came up just four points shy of making a trip to the Big Dance. (Heck, EWU almost beat the Zags earlier this season, losing at the Kennel only in overtime.) For the past few years, the team has been flirting with winning its conference. But with a good coach, some hot players coming back and the profile in tenacity that is Gonzaga to follow, it seems that even more success is on the way. Good job, guys!

America's Team -- If you missed The Inlander last week, you missed out on our free "Bulldog Nation" poster. Not to worry -- we have extras. Just stop by our offices at 1020 W. Riverside and pick one up.

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