Sherman Alexie to give Troy Lecture

Author, poet, screenwriter and director Sherman Alexie will present the annual Troy Lecture on the Humanities and Public Life on Thursday, Dec. 4 at 4:30 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom.

His topic is “The Business of Fancydancing,” the title of the 2002 film that marked his directorial debut as well as his 1992 collection of poetry.

Alexie was named one of The New Yorker’s 20 top writers for the 21st century and The New York Times Book Review described him as “one of the major lyric voices for our time.” Men’s Journal called him “the world’s first fast-talking and wisecracking mediagenic American-Indian superstar.”

A Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian, Alexie was born on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Wash. He received his B.A. in American studies from Washington State University in Pullman.

His books of poetry include “Face” (2009), “One Stick Song” (2000), “The Man Who Loves Salmon” (1998), “The Summer of Black Widows” (1996), “Water Flowing Home” (1995), “Old Shirts & New Skins” (1993), “First Indian on the Moon” (1993), “I Would Steal Horses” (1992), and “The Business of Fancydancing” (1992).

He is also the author of several novels and collections of short fiction, including “War Dances,” due out next month, and “Flight” (Grove Press, 2007); “Ten Little Indians” (2003); “The Toughest Indian in the World” (2000); “Indian Killer” (1996); “Reservation Blues” (1994), which won the Before Columbus Foundation''s American Book Award; and “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” (1993), which received a Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award.

He has received poetry fellowships from the Washington State Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award, the Stranger Genius Award, a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, a National Book Award, a Pushcart Prize, the PEN/Malamud Award, and a citation as “one of 20 Best American Novelists Under the Age of 40” from Granta magazine.

Alexie and Chris Eyre wrote the screenplay for the movie “Smoke Signals,” which was based on Alexie’s short story “This Is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona.” The movie won two awards at the Sundance Film Festival in 1998 and was released internationally by Miramax Films.

The Troy Lectures are presented in honor of the late Frederick S. (Barney) Troy, professor emeritus of English, honorary professor of the university and former trustee.