Spokane Is Reading selects Perma Red by Debra Magpie Earling for 2024 community-wide read

Spokane Is Reading announces acclaimed author Debra Magpie Earling and her novel, Perma Red, as the selection for this year’s community-wide reading event.

In March, The Atlantic Monthly named Perma Red one of the “Great American Novels of the Past 100 Years,” including it among the likes of Toni Morrison’s Beloved, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. Perma Red is a transcendent novel about injustice and survival, set in the 1940s on the Flathead Reservation of Montana, giving voice to a Salish woman named Louise White Elk as she navigates the affection and violence of men who wish to love her and control her. An American Book Award winner, Perma Red has also received the Spur Award, the Western Writers Association’s Medicine Pipe Bearer Award, and a WILLA Literary Award.

As Mark Gibbons states in his review for NPR, “Perma Red has no equal. You will be mesmerized by the poetically intimate prose, the realistically graphic details of life on a Montana reservation, and the humor, love, and pain you’ll experience through these richly drawn, honest characters. As another of Montana’s greatest writers, James Welch, put it: Perma Red ‘borders on mythic…a wonder-filled gift to all.’” Author Louise Erdrich describes Perma Red as “boldly drawn and passionate.” Perma Red was also voted Montana’s “Best Loved Novel” through the Great Montana Read program.

Debra Magpie Earling is also the author of The Lost Journals of Sacajewea. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, and the Montana Book Award. She retired from the University of Montana where she was named professor emeritus in 2021. She is Bitterroot Salish.Spokane Is Reading will host two appearances with Debra Magpie Earling on Thursday, October 24th, 2024. An afternoon appearance is at the Spokane Valley Library (22 North Herald Road, Spokane) at 1pm, and an evening appearance at Central Library (906 W. Main, Downtown Spokane) at 7pm. Both events are open to the public with free admission.