Join Utah Poet Laureate and University of Utah professor, Paisley Rekdal, and Southern Utah University professor, Todd Robert Petersen, for readings from and a discussion of their new books. Paisley is the author of Appropriate and Todd is the author of Picnic in the Ruins.
This free, virtual event will take place on Crowdcast and you must register here to participate. Buy your copy of Appropriate and/or Picnic in the Ruins from The King's English Bookshop and receive an autographed bookplate, while supplies last.
A timely, nuanced work that dissects the thorny debate around cultural appropriation and the literary imagination.
How do we properly define cultural appropriation, and is it always wrong? If we can write in the voice of another, should we? And if so, what questions do we need to consider first? In Appropriate, creative writing professor Paisley Rekdal addresses a young writer to delineate how the idea of cultural appropriation has evolved—and perhaps calcified—in our political climate. What follows is a penetrating exploration of fluctuating literary power and authorial privilege, about whiteness and what we really mean by the term empathy, that examines writers from William Styron to Peter Ho Davies to Jeanine Cummins. Lucid, reflective, and astute, Appropriate presents a generous new framework for one of the most controversial subjects in contemporary literature.
"Anyone who wishes to understand appropriation, and not just react to it, should read this book. Paisley Rekdal brings years of teaching, writing, and critical thinking to this subject, with literary analyses, historical and theoretical frameworks, and practical advice. Appropriate is a book of immense wisdom and clarity, sure to become required reading for writers everywhere." — Beth Bich Minh Nguyen, author of Stealing Buddha’s Dinner
About Picnic in the Ruins:
Anthropologist Sophia Shepard is researching the impact of tourism on cultural sites in a remote national monument on the Utah-Arizona border when she crosses paths with two small-time criminals. The Ashdown brothers were hired to steal maps from a "collector" of Native American artifacts, but their ineptitude has alerted the local sheriff to their presence. Their employer, a former lobbyist seeking lucrative monument land that may soon be open to energy exploration, sends a fixer to clean up their mess. Suddenly, Sophia must put her theories to the test in the real world, and the stakes are higher than she could have ever imagined.
What begins as a madcap caper across the RV-strewn vacation lands of southern Utah becomes a meditation on mythology, authenticity, the ethics of preservation, and one nagging question: Who owns the past?
"Part mystery; part quirky, darkly funny, mayhem-filled thriller; and part meditation on what it means to 'own' land, artifacts, and the narrative of history in the West . . . A fast-paced, highly entertaining hybrid of Tony Hillerman and Edward Abbey." --Kirkus Reviews