Saturday, November 12, 2011

Not required reading but of interest: Northwest Writers (Alexie, Walter, Ferch) in Basketball Game at U of I on 11/15
[Update: Today's paper says that WSU's own Buddy Levy will be participating.]
Some of you may be interested in this event at U of I. You'd get to see Northwest writers Sherman Alexie, Jess Walter, and Shann Ferch, although they won't be reading but playing basketball (along with some basketball stars).
But Spokane is home to a different literary type: the basketball-playing writer. You’ve heard of authors Sherman Alexie and Jess Walter – the region’s literary laureates who are also longtime basketball friends and friendly basketball rivals. Spokane is also home to Shann Ray Ferch, an excellent short-story writer and poet, Gonzaga professor and former college basketball star, and someone who’s played a lot of ball with Alexie and Walter.

Now, the region’s lit-hoops vortex is swirling together in a most interesting way. Kim Barnes, an author and professor of creative writing at the University of Idaho, has organized HooPalousa, a basketball game involving some of the region’s most celebrated authors, in Moscow on Tuesday night. The game is intended, in part, to create some fundraising momentum for an endowment to establish a scholarship in creative writing for American Indian students. Barnes calls it “an affirmation of that magical place where writing stories, playing basketball and Native American culture converge.”

“I think it’ll be fun – and there’s so much goodness around it,” said Ferch, whose collection of short stories, “American Masculine,” won the Bakeless Prize.

The game is billed as a contest between the Spokane Dirty Realists and the Moscow SuperSonnets, and though the rosters are heavy on writers, there are a few ringers.

“I think the key to an event like this is getting REAL BASKETBALL PLAYERS to fill in the gaps … otherwise it’s like coming out to watch dentists do ballet,” Walter wrote in an email.

So the Dirty Realists will have former Gonzaga standout David Pendergraft. The Moscow team is bringing Jonathan Takes Enemy, a Montana legend whom Alexie calls the “Michael Jordan of Indian basketball.” Two tribal chairmen – Chief Allan of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and Brooklyn Baptiste of the Nez Perce – will also play.

“It’s not just a basketball-writer thing,” Alexie said. “It’s a Northwest all-Indian basketball thing.”

Full article at

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