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University of Wyoming hosts author reading of "There, There" as library hosts Indigenous book club

The debut novel "There, There" by Tommy Orange features the popular lines from a Radiohead song as well as a quote from Geutrude Stein in its title.
Penguin Random House Books

Tommy Orange is the New York Times bestselling author of “There There” and will be doing a public reading of his work at the University of Wyoming (UW) on March 3. He is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribe in Oklahoma and grew up in Oakland, California.

His debut novel tackles topics of shared familial history and spirituality told from multiple different characters' perspectives.

Cassandra Hunter is the assistant director at the Albany County Library who put together a book club called “Indigenous Words” in preparation for Orange’s visit. She said she wanted to collect Indigenous texts that further the discussion of settler-occupied land in Laramie.

“It's really important for the University of Wyoming as a land-grant institution on Indigenous lands to bring in these types of people and recognize that these narratives and these points of views are just of the utmost importance,” Hunter said.

The book club’s first meeting is the same week Orange will be speaking at the UW Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts, and will continue for subsequent weeks with other Indigenous authors like Stephen Graham Jones and Kali Fajarado-Anstine.

Hunter wants to help develop more conversation around Orange’s reading and talk with other participants about the importance of storytelling.

“And I feel like if people who are participating walk away with a recognition of the universality of storytelling, and that is a thing that we all share regardless of our cultural, ethnic, racial makeup,” she said.

Hunter said that the books are free to those interested in participating in the book club. Orange’s talk is also free and open to the public and will be streamed live.

Taylar Dawn Stagner is a central Wyoming rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has degrees in American Studies, a discipline that interrogates the history and culture of America. She was a Native American Journalist Association Fellow in 2019, and won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her Modern West podcast episode about drag queens in rural spaces in 2021. Stagner is Arapaho and Shoshone.
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