Renowned author Sherman Alexie to speak at Western

DANBURY, CONN. — Author Sherman Alexie’s latest work, “War Dances,” has been called heartbreaking and hilarious, brazen and wise — and he has been called a rock star among writers. Those same words can be used to describe the well-known writer’s life, from brain surgery as an infant, to schoolyard taunting and a brief, but memorable, battle with alcohol.

At 7 p.m. on Monday, March 14, Alexie will talk about his life and work at a lecture in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the Midtown campus of Western Connecticut State University, 181 White St. in Danbury. Prior to the lecture, at 5 p.m. in Warner Hall on the Midtown campus will be a screening of “Smoke Signals,” an independent film written by Alexie. Both the lecture and film screening are free and the public is invited. A reception and book signing will follow the presentation. The evening’s events will honor the life and scholarship of the late Professor of English Dr. Steven D. Neuwirth, a specialist in Early American literature and American history who made significant contributions to the university’s academic program development from the 1980s until his retirement in 2003.

“Sherman Alexie is a ‘rock star’ among his generation of writers for all of the right reasons,” said Dr. Abbey Zink, WCSU Interim Dean, School of Arts and Sciences. “He exploded onto the literary scene by writing about what he knew best – life on the Spokane Indian Reservation – in ways that are profound, but accessible and witty, yet poignant. Students in my classes over the years have connected with his voice and his explorations of identity. He also is known as a fantastic speaker, so the Danbury area is in for a real treat.”

Alexie, a Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian, grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation with hopes of becoming a medical doctor, a dream that was dashed after he discovered a love and talent for poetry at Washington State University. In 1991, the prolific writer received the Washington State Arts Commission Poetry Fellowship and a year later was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship. “War Dances” won the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

For more information, call (203) 837-8486 or visit

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.


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