Normandale hosts Author Tommy Orange on April 5 as part of Write Likes Us Series

By Steven Geller - Director of Media and Public Relations

Normandale Community College will host author Tommy Orange as part of the Minnesota State Write Like Us Series on Tuesday, April 5.

Orange will be doing a public reading and interview with Minneapolis writer Merle Geode on campus at the Lorenz Auditorium on Tuesday, April 5 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. with a book signing (and book sales) to follow. Everyone in attendance will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours of the event.  

Tommy Orange is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel There There, a multi-generational, relentlessly paced story about a side of America few of us have ever seen: the lives of urban Native Americans. There There was one of The New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of the Year, and won the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize and the Pen/Hemingway Award.   

There There was also longlisted for the National Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Orange graduated from the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and was a 2014 MacDowell Fellow and a 2016 Writing by Writers Fellow. He is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. He was born and raised in Oakland, California.  

Orange's visit to Normandale is made possible by Minnesota State Write Like Us, a collaborative five-campus program centering and celebrating the work of BIPOC writers and writing students as it fosters literary mentorship and leadership, building a platform for shared stories, voices, and lived experiences. The inaugural year of Minnesota State Write Like Us is funded by a $150,000 Minnesota State Multi-Campus Collaboration grant in support of Minnesota State's Equity 2030 goals.  

Minnesota State Write Like Us hopes to recruit, retain, and represent BIPOC students in our AFA and other creative writing programs, with their high rates of persistence, graduation, and transfer. Five local BIPOC author-mentors have awarded 40 mentee fellowships (nine from Normandale) to BIPOC creative writing students from the five campuses for the 2021-22 academic year. Additionally, each of the five participating campuses is hosting a nationally prominent BIPOC author for public and private events.  

Orange's April 5 appearance is Normandale's national-author event. The other colleges in this Minnesota State Multi-Campus Collaboration-Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Century College, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, and North Hennepin Community College-will host nationally acclaimed authors Hanif Abdurraquib, Brit Bennett, Kiese Laymon, and Tracy K. Smith, in late March and April.