When Christopher McDougall talks about running, he’s not talking about a jog around the block. He believes human beings evolved to run hundreds of miles at a time, because it was “the way we survived and thrived and spread across this planet.” We were born to run, and without all the fancy footwear we’ve been led to believe is necessary. This argument is the foundation of his book, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, which spent over four months on the New York Times Best Sellers List.
His book centers on the Tarahumara Indians, a reclusive tribe in the Copper Canyons of northern Mexico. The Tarahumara run ultra-distances (often 100 miles or more) without the injuries and physical deterioration that often plague distance runners. The book takes on a controversial idea in the world of sports: our modern-day running equipment, those expensive and finely engineered running shoes, is actually preventing us from running at our fullest potential. Human beings were truly born and built to run, and run extraordinarily long distances at that.
With an eye for Gonzo journalism and a wry, intelligent voice, McDougall immerses the reader in strange cultural phenomena that would otherwise go unseen: the sociocultural anomaly of this tribe who have remained largely unchanged by civilization for over 400 years; the political intrigue of the Mexican drug cartels infringing on that way of life; the mysterious heroism of Caballo Blanco, the man who plans to save the Tarahumara by staging the ultimate marathon race. The book was named a Best Book of the Year by both Forbes and the Washington Post, and there are plans to adapt it into a movie.
McDougall has written for a number of prestigious publications, including Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, Outside, Men’s Journal, and New York Magazine. A Harvard graduate, he spent three years as a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press and was also a contributing editor for Men’s Health. He currently lives in rural Pennsylvania, where he lives with his wife, two daughters, and a varying population of farm animals, and naturally runs barefoot.
As part of the 15th Annual Get Lit! Festival, McDougall will lead a free Bloomsday Training Run on Wednesday, April 10th at Spokane Community College. Participants can gather at the entrance to the SCC track. The run will begin at 6 p.m. and follow a four-mile loop heading west from SCC on Riverton, across the Mission Street bridge and returning on the Centennial Trail along Upriver Drive. Runners of all ages and skill-levels are encouraged to participate, at their own pace, for as little or as long as they like. The run is free and open to the public.
Following the run, McDougall will give a talk, answer questions, and sign books in the Lair Auditorium at SCC at 7:30 pm.
These events are presented in partnership with The Hagan Foundation Center for the Humanities, The SCC Presidential Speakers Series, and The Lilac Bloomsday Association.
Venue: The Lair Auditorium @ Spokane Community College (1810 N. Green St., Building 6)
Cost: Free and open to the public
2nd Annual Pie & Whiskey Reading
Monarchs, take note: “Let them imbibe pie and whiskey” doesn’t quite have that history-books ring to it, but it’s effective.
The masses have spoken, and the Pie and Whiskey Reading is back for 2013. Before you decide if you’ll be in attendance, ask yourself the following: Do I enjoy free pie? Do I enjoy free whiskey? Do I enjoy world-class fiction, nonfiction, and poetry?
Hosted by Sam Ligon,
fiction writer and associate professor of creative writing at Eastern Washington University, and Kate Lebo, Seattle-based
poet and renowned pie baker, the event will feature twelve festival authors reading
flash fiction, flash nonfiction, and poetry inspired by the following quotes:
"Early piecrusts were called 'coffins,' which sounds vaguely sinister today, as if our ancestors were already implying that the contents of a pie could be doubtful. In actual fact the word originally meant a basket or box…, and was used in relation to pastry 'caskets' before it came to refer to the funeral variety" — from Pie: a Global History, by Janet Clarkson
“What butter and whiskey won’t cure, there is no cure for.” – Irish Proverb
This year’s readers include:
Kim Barnes, Dan Butterworth, Jonathan Evison, Kate Lebo, Sam Ligon, Jim Lynch, Laura Read, Marianne Salina, Greg Spatz, Shawn Vestal, Jess Walter, and Robert Wrigley.
This event is 21 and over only.
Time: 9:00 p.m.
Venue: Woman's Club, 1428 W 9th. (This venue is not easily ADA-accessible. Please contact us ahead of time if you'd like to attend so we can make the proper arrangements. 509.359.6977 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Cost: Free admission will include complimentary pie and one beverage. Limited additional beverages will be for sale.
Special thanks to Dry Fly Distillery for supporting this event.
Saturday, April 13th
The Reading Public
The literary community in Spokane is vibrant, nationally recognized, and growing all the time. In fact, it's growing so quickly that you may have trouble keeping track of who's who. To showcase some of our local talent, this reading will feature three writers living and working in Spokane, with the opportunity for other local writers to take the stage during an open mic. Kevin Taylor has been a freelance writer in Spokane for a number of years, covering everything from the environment to tribal policy. Luke Baumgarten is a freelance writer at Seven2 Interactive and one of the founders of Terrain, an annual multimedia art show and concert. Anna Vodicka received her MFA from the University of Idaho where she taught English, and her work has appeared in The Iowa Review and Michigan Quarterly. After these fine folks read, they’ll pass the mic to you! Writers of all ages and experience are invited to sign up for the open mic and read 3-5 minutes of their own original work. Come celebrate and support Spokane’s homegrown talent!
Jim Lynch and Joe Wilkins
From urban underbellies to Big Sky dreaming, writers have always sought to capture the true essence of the Northwest. Olympia writer Jim Lynch dives into Seattle’s sordid past with his latest novel, Truth Like the Sun. A tenacious newspaper reporter sets out to unmask corrupt local politics and gets swept up in a story that goes all the way back to the famous (and infamous) 1962 World’s Fair. Joe Wilkins chooses farmland over skyscrapers in his memoir, The Mountains and the Fathers. Set in the drought-afflicted area of northern Montana known as the Big Dry, his stories reexamine masculinity and the American mythos of the West, all while set in a land that “chews up young and old alike.” Both authors take us on a journey through the Northwest with humor and heart, through familiar landscapes that local readers will particularly appreciate.
Lidia Yuknavitch writes to give voice to the maligned and the silenced. Her novel Dora: A Headcase reimagines the world of psychotherapy through teenage heroine Ida, whose alter ego is named Dora, who calls her therapist Siggy and is in love with her friend Obsidian. A philandering father, intimacy issues, and an experimental art film make this a true 21st century coming-of-age story. Yuknavitch is also known for her powerful memoir, The Chronology of Water, which explores addiction, abuse, and love, tracing the course of Yuknavitch’s life following the birth of her stillborn daughter. Yuknavitch is adept at exploring what it means to be human, drawing on her personal experience as well as creating complex, flawed, and fascinating characters.
Sherril Jaffe and Sharma Shields
The line between the real and the fantastic is a blurry one. Sherril Jaffe, winner of the 2011 Spokane Prize for Short Fiction, knows it well. Her latest collection, You Are Not Alone & Other Stories, is set in a very real San Francisco but with a twist. Homeless women lives in closets, dead mothers call their sons to ask if they can visit, and crimes are solved by feeling the emotions of the criminals. Spokane writer Sharma Shield’s first short story collection, Favorite Monster, provides a field guide for the weird and surreal. What do you do when a serial killer moves in next door, a Cyclops is hired for the cubicle across the way, or your husband starts to inexplicably shrink? In the end, we find, the real monsters turn out to be your average, garden-variety humans. Utilizing humor, empathy, and wit to dazzling effect, both authors explore the strange, the disturbing, and the profound.
Jess Walter & Shawn Vestal
Jess Walter’s sixth novel, Beautiful Ruins, was featured on more than a dozen publications’ “Best of 2012” lists—including the New York Times, Esquire, and Entertainment Weekly. Now, Walter is starting 2013 strong with his debut collection of short fiction, We Live in Water. The men who populate these stories are white-collar criminals, zombie-apocalypse survivors, and stalkers, all searching for redemption and all struggling, most of all, against themselves. Says one reviewer, Walter’s “generosity of spirit, coupled with (his) seeming inability to look away from the messy bits, elevates these stories from dirges to symphonies.”
Spokesman-Review columnist and McSweeney’s contributor Shawn Vestal will read from his newly published debut collection of short fiction, Godforsaken Idaho (April 2013). In these nine stories, lost souls wander through a tragicomic vision of the afterlife, a man’s attempt to sever ties with his faith takes a grisly turn, and a young Joseph Smith sets out to find buried treasure. Kirkus Reviews called it “a provocative and revelatory debut,” while fellow author Jess Walter has praised it as being “wickedly funny, surprisingly profound.”
A conversation between the authors and the audience will be facilitated by fiction writer and associate professor of creative writing at EWU, Sam Ligon. Ligon, who edits the literary journal Willow Springs, also had a hand in shaping many of the stories in both We Live In Water and Godforsaken Idaho. Join this trio of writers and friends for captivating stories, insight into the writing process, and certainly many laughs.
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Venue: Barrister Winery, 1213 West Railroad Avenue, Spokane
Cost: Free and open to the public, suggested $5 donation
Lost Horse Press 15th Anniversary Reading
Lost Horse Press is turning fifteen this year! Established in 1998, Lost Horse Press is a nonprofit and independent press that has published over fifty-three books of poetry and twelve fiction titles, many of which have won national awards. This event features jazz by celebrated guitarist Leon Atkinson and internationally renowned pianist Burton Greene, discounted prices on Lost Horse Press titles, and much more. The reading celebrates the work of the press and its talented poets. Christi Kramer is a Senior Editor at the press. She works with children exiled by war and studies poetry of reconciliation and resistance in the doctorate program at the University of British Columbia. Her poetry can be found in the Lost Horse Press anthology, I Go to the Ruined Place: Contemporary Poems in Defense of Global Human Rights. Robert McNamara’s poetry examines the human pursuit for perfection, salvation, and remembrance of the past with formality and grace. His latest collection, Incomplete Strangers, is a “tremendous feast” for the reader. He teaches at the University of Washington and is the Director for the Puget Sound Writing Project. Katrina Roberts’ incendiary, comic poetry can be found in her four critically-acclaimed collections, including her latest Underdog (University of Washington Press, 2011) and Friendly Fire (Lost Horse Press, 2008). She teaches at Whitman College, where she also owns a vineyard and distillery with her husband. Stan Rubin believes in writing as a communal act, the chance to “make something that is part of a larger reality.” He is the director of the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. His collection There, Here was a finalist for the 2012 Idaho Prize for Poetry. Senior editor Carolyne Wright has published nine books and chapbooks of poetry, a collection of essays, and four volumes of translations. Her latest collection is Mania Klepto: the Book of Eulene (Turning Point Books, 2011). An earlier collection, Seasons of Mangoes and Brainfire, won the Blue Lynx Prize and American Book Award. Maya Jewell Zeller engages the natural world in a dialogue with the self, depicting an American Northwest that is both beautiful and damaged. She is widely published and currently teaches at Gonzaga University. Her first collection, Rust Fish, was published by Lost Horse Press in 2011.
Regional MFA Reading
Graduate students from the University of Idaho, the University of Montana and Eastern Washington University, including Walter Kelly, Breein Bryant, and Michael Pankratz will come together to share their work. Representing a variety of genres and styles, this reading promises to be lively and absorbing.
Inland Northwest Faculty Reading
Hosted by Eastern Washington University, creative writing faculty from six area colleges and universities will read from new works of poetry, fiction and nonfiction. Participating writers and teachers include Christopher Howell, Rachel Toor, Nance Van Winckel and Gregory Spatz of Eastern Washington University. They will be joined by fellow writers/teachers Jessica Halliday of Gonzaga University, Nicole Sheets of Whitworth University, and Jonathan Frey of North Idaho College. Laura Read will be honored with the EWU Outstanding Alumni award. Join us for wine and witty words.
Time: 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Venue: Barrister Winery
Cost: Free and open to the public
402 W. Main Ave.
1213 W. Railroad Ave.
Bing Crosby Theater
901 W. Sprague Ave.
EWU Cheney Campus
Reading Room, 2nd Floor
EWU Riverpoint Campus
Riverpoint One building
501 N. Riverpoint Blvd.
924 W Garland Ave
502 East Boone Avenue
Hagan Foundation Center
for the Humanities
Spokane Community College
Learning Resources Center
Bldg. 16, 2nd Floor
The Lincoln Center
1316 N. Lincoln St.
25 W. Main Avenue
1108 W. Riverside Ave
North Idaho College (NIC)
1000 W. Garden Ave.
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
Northwest Museum of Arts
and Culture (MAC)
2316 W. First Ave.
1428 W 9th Ave