Prairie Schooner to launch Native American issue Jan. 28-29

Sherman Alexie
Sherman Alexie

Acclaimed author, poet and filmmaker Sherman Alexie will be the featured guest when the Prairie Schooner — UNL's international literary journal — celebrates its winter issue with a special two-day event, Jan. 28-29.

The celebration, which is free and open to the public, will be at the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center. Events both days begin at 7 p.m.

Alexie, who frequently writes about his experiences growing up as a Native American, guest-edited a portfolio of poetry and prose by contemporary Native American authors in the issue.

"Alexie represents one of a select group of writers whose fame is matched by their brilliance as writers," said Kwame Dawes, Prairie Schooner editor-in-chief. "To have him visit UNL is simply exciting, and especially so for Prairie Schooner because of his role as guest editor for our special Native American portfolio issue."

The event kicks off Jan. 28 with a screening of "Smoke Signals," a film written and co-produced by Alexie. "Smoke Signals" won the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. Although he won't attend the screening, Alexie will read from his creative work on Jan. 29. The reading will be followed by an on-stage interview with Dawes and a book signing.

The launch event has been made possible through funding from the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education and Human Sciences, the Institute for Ethnic Studies, the Native American Studies Program, and the English and History departments at UNL. It is a major feature of Prairie Schooner's annual program of events, held each year to celebrate an internationally themed winter issue.

Alexie's most recent books are "War Dances" (Grove Press), stories and poems, and "Face" (Hanging Loose Press), a book of poems. He is the winner of the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award, the 2007 National Book Award for Young People's Literature, the 2001 PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story, and a special citation for the 1994 PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Fiction.

For more details about the launch event and the Native American issue of Prairie Schooner, go to

— Marianne Kunkel, Prairie Schooner