Pasatiempo - - In Other Words -

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

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