Author to discuss new book about modern Native America

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Tommy Orange will discuss his highly anticipated debut novel, "There There," at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Northshire Bookstore.

Orange tells the story of 12 characters headed to the Big Oakland Powwow, a celebration of Native American culture. The characters have their own reasons for attending the powwow and personal struggles with their heritage.

Throughout the novel, Orange unveils themes such as identity, addiction, loss, tradition and community. As a whole, Orange's writing addresses the complexity of experiencing life as an "urban Indian."

The author was born and raised in Oakland, Calif., and he is a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma.

Reading and writing was not one of Orange's earliest passions. "I had no interested in writing or reading when I was young," he said. "When I was 23 I worked at a used bookstore which got me into reading and writing. I spent the next 13 years writing and trying to make a career of it."

Orange worked on and off at a native community in Oakland for eight or nine years.

His experience made him realize "how many untold stories there are [about Native Americans] in literature, pop culture and film. There is an outdated concept of what it means to be native. I wanted to write an updated version of Native Americans who live in cities and in Oakland," he said.

Attendees can expect to have a lively, interesting conversation with Orange on Saturday evening. "I want there to be a combination of serious and funny. A lot of the subject matter is dark and heavy, so I try to balance it with humor," Orange said.

There is noteworthy hype and buzz surrounding this recently published novel. Orange encourages people from the Manchester community and surrounding area to "Come see if it lives up to it."

For more information on the event, visit https://www.northshire.com/upcoming-events.

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