Acclaimed Native American author coming to Fairfield University for lecture and book signing

Acclaimed Native American author coming to Fairfield University for lecture and book signing

The highly-acclaimed Native American author, Leslie Marmon Silko, will appear at Fairfield University's Barone Campus Center, Oak Room on Monday, Jan. 29, 2007 at 7 p.m. for a lecture and book signing featuring the 30th anniversary edition of her critically triumphant novel, "Ceremony." The Author's Forum event, presented by Fairfield University's University College, is co-sponsored by Fairfield University's Center for Multicultural Relations, the English Department in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Connecticut Writing Project/Fairfield. The event is part of an eight-city tour celebrating the novel's induction into Penguin Classics.

Originally published in 1977, there was critical agreement on the raw power and rich beauty of Silko's majestic writing. Now, after 30 years and 750,000 copies sold, "Ceremony" is no less moving or poignant than when it first appeared. It remains the Native American novel most often found in college and university syllabi and its message of healing and reconciliation remains as relevant today - to a world at war - as it was in the Vietnam and World War II eras. Larry McMurtry, the prolific and highly respected Pulitzer Prize-winning author, has written a new introduction for this prestigious anniversary edition.

Dr. Nicholas Rinaldi, Fairfield University Professor Emeritus in the Department of English, describes Silko as "a stunning author" whose "strength is in her consistently fluid interpenetration of realism and myth... her artistic incorporation of myths within a story is so masterful and causes such riveting results," continued Dr. Rinaldi, "that she leaves little doubt that myths are the living reflection of the human condition and, as such, are in constant need of revitalization."

The novel centers on Tayo, a war-scarred World War II veteran of mixed ancestry who returns to his home on the Laguna Pueblo Reservation. Rejected by his own community, he struggles mightily against the hollow alienation he feels. After an initial descent into violence and alcohol, Tayo begins, through his association with the mixed-blood shaman, Betonie, to learn how inadequate is his choice of a refuge from pain. Through his total immersion in the Indian past - inhabiting Pueblo myths and traditional stories - Tayo begins to regain the peace that was taken from him.

Silko, herself of mixed Laguna Pueblo, Mexican and white ancestry, was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico on the edge of the Laguna Pueblo reservation. Excluded from participation in various tribal rituals and societies, she maintains a powerful identification with her native ancestry as a result of family educational efforts.

In 1981, Silko received a MacArthur Foundation "genius" Grant in recognition of her exceptional merit and promise for enhanced creative work.

Tickets are $10 and free to Fairfield University students and faculty. Please phone (203) 254-4307 for reservations. This event is part of the Authors' Forum, an outgrowth of the Open VISIONS Forum.

University College at Fairfield University is the gateway for individuals seeking undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as professional certificate programs, study abroad and personal enrichment opportunities. University College offers an enriching personal and powerful educational experience that is backed by the resources and reputation of a great Jesuit university. For program information, e-mail or call (203) 254-4184.

Posted On: 12-18-2006 10:12 AM

Volume: 39 Number: 104