Sherman Alexie and Jess Walter will host a live recording of their podcast, “A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment.” The evening will include appearences by Karen Russell, author of the bestselling Swamplandia, Seattle Youth Poet Laureate Angel Gardner, and folk musician Naomi Wachira.
This series is in partnership with novelist, poet, and playwright Sherman Alexie. He has published 25 books, including The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and War Dances. His most recent work is a children’s book called Thunder Boy Jr.
Jess Walter, a National Book Award finalist and recipient of the Edgar Allen Poe Award, is the author of six novels including Beautiful Ruins and The Zero, the short story collection We Live in Water, and a nonfiction book on the Ruby Ridge Siege, Every Knee Shall Bow.
Karen Russell, novelist and short story writer, is one of today’s most celebrated and vital writers. Her first collection of short stories, St Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, was longlisted for the Guardian first book award. Her novel, Swamplandia! was longlisted for the 2011 Orange Prize and shortlisted for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize. Her most recent work, a collection of lavishly imagined short stories, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, was published in the same year she won a MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant.” Her short stories have also been featured in publications such as The Best American Short Stories, Granta, The New Yorker, and Oxford American. A native of Miami, Russell currently lives in Portland, OR.
The daughter of a Kijabe pastor, Naomi Wachira joined the traveling family band at five years old, spreading the good word through gospel song. This explains the beautiful harmonies on her album, for as she says “In my family everyone sang and everyone knew their part. Harmony was second nature for us.” Larger African concepts also play a part in Naomi’s music, like the Zulu idea of Ubuntu. This concept means “I am because we are,” and it’s a community-based worldview that focuses on caring for each other. This is why the songs on Naomi’s debut album sound so alive. They’re plucked from her own life, powered by her Northwest musical community, and imbued with her own sense of hopefulness.
Angel Gardner is 20 years old and is the current Seattle Youth Poet Laureate. She has been writing for over ten years now, on her own and as a youth ambassador with the Pongo Teen Writing Program. She believes that the best type of creative writing is the kind without barriers that makes you shift and sweat. Her community advocacy includes work with the Mockingbird Society and New Horizon Ministries, organizations that support youth experiencing homelessness through advocacy and working towards systemic change. She is the mother to a little boy who is her world and brings out the best of her and her writing. She plans to keep writing as long as she lives.