The Indigenous Engagement Initiative presents novelist Debra Magpie Earling on Wed., Nov. 16, at 4:30 p.m., Convocation Hall

In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, Debra Magpie Earling, author of Perma Red and the forthcoming novel The Lost Journals of Sacajewea, will give a reading in Convocation Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 4:30 p.m. In addition, she will make workshop, classroom, and other program visits. She has received both a National Endowment for the Arts grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Perma Red won a Spur Award and Medicine Pipe Bearer Award for best first novel from the Western Writers Association, a WILLA Literary Award and the American Book Award. The novel takes place on the Flathead Indian Reservation in the 1940s, and portrays the ongoing crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women. The Lost Journals of Sacajewea was begun during the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition to challenge prevailing narratives of Sacajewea.

Earling is a graduate of the University of Washington, and holds both an MA in English (1991) and an MFA in Fiction Writing (1992) from Cornell University. She retired from the University of Montana, where she was the director of their MFA program and was named professor emeritus in 2021. She is Bitterroot Salish.

Earling’s visit is the first campus-wide event sponsored by the University’s Indigenous Engagement Initiative, which is under the aegis of the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the leadership of Vice Provost Anderson-Thompkins. The goals of the initiative include land acknowledgment, a strong relationship with indigenous communities and the Tennessee Trail of Tears Association, identification and support of courses or research that are relevant to indigenous people, and programming that enriches our knowledge of indigenous heritage and shapes the university into a place that is inclusive for and supportive of indigenous faculty, staff, and students. Sponsorship for this event is partnered with the School of Letters and the University Lectures committee, along with the Sewanee Review, the Department of English and Creative Writing, the Walter E. Dakin Memorial Fund, the Department of Psychology, the Center for Teaching, and the Office of Inclusive Excellence.

A book signing will immediately follow the reading.