Kalamazoo Valley Community College Visiting Writers Series Welcomes Tommy Orange on March 26

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Kalamazoo Valley Community College's "About Writing" Visiting Writers Series welcomes Tommy Orange on March 26 for two events: an on-stage conversation at 10 a.m. and a reading and on-stage conversation at 2:15 p.m. in the Student Commons Theater, Room 4240, at the Texas Township Campus.

Kalamazoo Valley Community College's "About Writing" Visiting Writers Series welcomes Tommy Orange on March 26 for two events: an on-stage conversation at 10 a.m. and a reading and on-stage conversation at 2:15 p.m. in the Student Commons Theater, Room 4240, at the Texas Township Campus. Both events will be followed by a book signing. Drop-in community book talks to discuss Orange's book There There are set for 6:30 p.m. on March 12 at This is a Bookstore, and at the Portage District Library at 6:30 p.m. on March 16.

Orange is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel There There, a multigenerational, relentlessly paced story about a side of America few have ever seen: the lives of urban Native Americans. There There was one of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the Year, won the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

A recent graduate from the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, Orange 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. Born and raised in Oakland, California, he now lives in Angels Camp, California.

The Visiting Writers Series at Kalamazoo Valley Community College is coordinated by English instructor Dr. Julie Stotz-Ghosh and offers students the opportunity to talk with professional writers and listen to their work. Retired English instructor Rob Haight established the series and began bringing noteworthy authors to the college in 2001. The visits are free and open to the public and include a craft talk and a reading.

There There is being read and discussed by many Kalamazoo Valley Community College classes for the 2019/20 academic year. “It’s a book that’s already popping up as one of the best books of the decade. We feel lucky to have this unique opportunity to introduce our students to Tommy Orange and his work,” said Liberal Arts Dean Dr. Billy Reynolds.

Stotz-Ghosh, who will moderate the question and answer session, agreed that Kalamazoo Valley is fortunate to be hosting Orange. “As a creative writer, I admire Tommy Orange’s writing style,” she said. “The novel is complex and layered.” She expects the experience of reading the novel to encourage students to explore and tell their own stories. “When we share our stories we become connected,” Stotz-Ghosh said. “Literature connects us. Reading a book together creates community, connects us with others through imagination, empathy, and conversation.”

“Reading Tommy’s novel connects people who otherwise wouldn’t understand the experience,” said Kalamazoo Valley Library Director Mark Walters. “Connecting people to one another and to the history that we want to forget about is important because otherwise we forget.”

Copies of There There are available through the Kalamazoo Valley bookstore. Both of Orange’s March 26 presentations run for 45 minutes and will be followed by a book signing opportunity.
Orange’s visit is co-sponsored by the English Department, Kalamazoo Valley Library and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

For more details about the Visiting Writers Series, go to https://www.kvcc.edu/campuslife/visitingwriters/.

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