Debra Magpie Earling photo

Debra Magpie Earling

Bitterroot Salish author and Guggenheim Fellowship winner Debra Magpie Earling will discuss her re-issued and acclaimed novel Perma Red.

Perma Red book cover

Award-winning author Debra Magpie Earling will celebrate the re-issue of her much-lauded novel, Perma Red, with a reading and discussion at Elk River Books, on Thursday, Feb. 16.

Perma Red, originally published 20 years ago, tells the story of Louise White Elk, a young native woman on the Flathead Indian Reservation of the 1940s, battling to free herself from the men who seek to possess her and the institutions that try to control her. At the time, Earling’s novel made an undeniable splash on the literary scene, winning the American Book Award, the Reading the West Book Award, and the Western Writers of America Spur Award for best novel of the West.

A review in the Minneapolis Star Tribune noted that the novel, “establishes Earling as the literary heir to great American Indian writers such as James Welch and Louise Erdrich,” and Erdrich herself called it, “boldly drawn and passionate.”

This new edition, published by Milkweed Books, will introduce a new generation of readers to what the Big Sky Journal named a “stunningly elegiac … book of transcendent poetry.”

In addition to Perma Red, Earling is the author of the forthcoming novel The Lost Journals of Sacajewea, an earlier version of which, written in verse, was produced as an artist book during the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition. She has received both a National Endowment for the Arts grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Now retired from the University of Montana, she was named professor emeritus in 2021. She is Bitterroot Salish.

Elk River Books is located at 122 S. 2nd St. in downtown Livingston. The free event begins at 7 p.m., and a book signing and reception will follow.

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