Straight out of Siberia Over the past several years, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist N. Scott Momaday has been visiting Siberia, struck by the parallels between the tribal peoples of northern Russia and those close to home in his native Southwest. Some of the fruits of that exchange can be heard this week at the Institute of American Indian Arts, which hosts Momaday along with several Siberian and Native American poets and writers. Among the authors from Siberia are Khanty poet and novelist Yeremai Aipin and Maria Vagatova, who has penned poems and fairy tales that draw upon her upbringing, living under one tent with 12 siblings, as part of a family that breeds reindeer. Also reading will be Yuri Kilevich Vaella, a Taiga Nenets writer and activist from western Siberia who created a rural school to teach traditional culture and reindeer herding to youth. Alexandr Vaschenko, a professor of comparative literature at Moscow State University in Russia, will be translating. Alaska Native and Native American writers who will be featured include James Thomas Stevens (Akwesasne Mohawk), Evelina Zuni Lucero (Isleta Pueblo/Ohkay Owingeh), dg nanouk okpik (Inupiat-Inuit), and Sherwin Bitsui (Diné). The writers give a reading at IAIA’s library at 7 p.m on Tuesday, April 13, and host a round-table discussion at IAIA’s Center for Lifelong Education Commons Room at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 15. Both events are free and take place at the IAIA campus at 83 Avan Nu Po Road, 424-2300. The Italian American job Salvatore Scibona’s debut novel, The End, was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award. Set on one sweltering August day, during the Feast of the Assumption in a fictional Italian American neighborhood in Cleveland, the book is an immigrant saga that leapfrogs through space and time to search out the roots of a grim murder that haunts the book’s main characters. The book has won Scibona no shortage of accolades, including the Norman Mailer Cape Cod Award for Exceptional Writing, the 2009 New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, and a 2009 Whiting Writers Award. The novel is inspired by Scibona’s immigrant grandparents’ lives. “I ate up their pasts,” he said in a 2008 interview published in The College, the alumni magazine of St. John’s College. “I felt as though the suburb I grew up in was such a culturally vacuous place, and the neighborhoods where they grew up in Cleveland seemed full, vibrant, awake.” Later this year, his book will be published in German and French. A 1997 graduate of St. John’s, Scibona is returning to his alma mater to from his new short story, “The Woman Who Lived in the House,” on Sunday, April 11, at 3 p.m. at the Great Hall in the Peterson Student Center on the St. John’s College campus, 1160 Camino de Cruz Blanca, 984-6000. There is no charge for the event.
— Casey Sanchez