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Brady Butler, Director
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Pittsburgh, PA 15237

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Pittsburgh, August 4, 2008 — Winner of the 2007 National Book Award in Young People’s Literature for his book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, author Sherman Alexie will be this year’s guest speaker at La Roche College’s Freshman Convocation on Friday, Aug 22, at 2:15 p.m. in the Kerr Fitness & Sports Center on the McCandless Township main campus. Prior to Convocation, Mr. Alexie will also be signing copies of his books beginning at 12:45 p.m., outside of the La Roche College Book Store, Zappala College Center.

In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which has been chosen as this year’s selection in La Roche College’s Summer Reading Program for incoming freshman, Mr. Alexie tells the tale of a contemporary Native American boy as he tries to break away from his life on the reservation and “the life he is destined to live.” A coming of age tale, the book has been an inspiration to both young and old readers everywhere, and has been hailed as Mr. Alexie’s “best work yet” by The New York Times.

Mr. Alexie was born in Spokane, Wash., and is of Spokane and Coeur d’Alene heritage. Growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Wash., Mr. Alexie draws from his experiences on the reservation for a number of his best known works, including: The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, Smoke Signals, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

Graduating from Washington State University (WSU) with a bachelor’s degree in American studies, Mr. Alexie became one of the first members of his tribe to earn a university degree. Since graduating, Mr. Alexie has published 17 books and has written numerous other short stories, poems and screenplays. He has also dabbled in stand-up comedy and music. The road he has traveled to his current success was not always a fortuitous one; he openly discusses his battles with alcohol.

Besides winning the 2007 National Book Award, Mr. Alexie has also recently earned the 2008 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature, the 2008 Book Sense Book of the Year Children’s Literature Honor Book, the 2008 Pacific Northwest Book Award, and numerous other awards for “The Absolutely True Diary.”

La Roche College’s Freshman Convocation is a free event and is open to the public. For more information about Mr. Alexie, the Summer Reading Program or Freshman Convocation go to or call 412-536-1079.

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