Sherman Alexie spreads ‘humanistic concern’

On March 9, the English department and Mabee Library will organize the annual activity, iRead, which is free to the public in Henderson 100 at 3:30 p.m.

They invited author Sherman Alexie to give a lecture about his culture and identity as a famous Native American novelist, poet, screenwriter and filmmaker. His novel “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” and film “Smoke Signals” are his most notable works. He received several awards, such as American Book Award, National Book Award, PEN/Hemingway, PEN/Faulkner.

iRead is an annual activity at Washburn University which invites famous literary figures every year, such as Ishmael Beah and Greg Mortenson.

Next year, they will invite Joe Drape, whose work is “Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen.”

This year’s iRead, Alexie will talk about his experiences and his new book “War Dances.”

“We invited Sherman Alexie because of his entertaining character and his books appeal to diverse students and faculties,” said Eric McHenry, professor in the English department. “He is brilliant, friendly and full of insight. I am very grateful to have a chance to talk with him.”

Sean Bird, information literacy librarian in Mabee Library, said there is no need to read his book before the reading meeting, but reading his books will help in understanding the author.

“He is full of humanistic concern and culture community,” said Bird.

The organizers want the activity to spread cultural ideas among students and inspire them to write and read.

When it comes to the form of the event, Alexie will interact with audiences after the lecture.

“My son shared the same school as Alexie’s and we knew each other before,” said McHenry. “And another donor, Dona Walker, was his classmate at Washington State University.”

Walker is the director of multicultural affairs at Washburn.

Other sponsors for the event include: The Klemmer Lecture Series, Washburn English department, Friends of Mabee Library, Washburn Center for Student Success, Washburn Women’s Venture Partners, Haskell Indian Nations University, Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, Washburn Office of Multicultural Affairs, Washburn history department and Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library.