Spokane-based author and poet Shann Ray will be reading from his award winning short story collection “American Masculine” at Auntie’s Bookstore on Friday, September 30.
Spokane author Jess Walter, Sherman Alexie and McSweeney’s Editor Dave Eggers are just a few of the writers who have praised his work.
“American Masculine is a powerful fiction debut. These 10 stories reveal Shann Ray’s unique voice, his lyrical vision of the West, and his always-eloquent contemplation of the mysteries of grace and forgiveness,” Walter said.
The stories in “American Masculine” draw from Ray’s personal experiences. According to his web site, he grew up in Montana and spent part of his childhood on the Northern Cheyenne reservation. He played basketball in high school and college before going on to play professionally in Germany. His blog alludes to some things about his family that may have worked their way into his writing.
According to the product description of his book on Amazon,
“The American West has long been a place where myth and legend have flourished. Where men stood tall and lived rough. But that West is no more. In its place Shann Ray finds washedup basketball players, businessmen hiding addictions, and women fighting the inexplicable violence that wells up in these men. A son struggles to accept his father’s apologies after surviving a childhood of beatings. Two men seek empty basketball hoops on a snowy night, hoping to relive past glory. A bull rider skips town and rides herd on an unruly mob of passengers as he searches for a thief on a train threading through Montana’s Rocky Mountains.
“In these stories, Ray grapples with the terrible hurt we inflict on those we love, and finds that reconciliation, if far off, is at least possible. The debut of a writer who is out to redefine the contours of the American West, American Masculine is a deeply felt and fiercely written ode to the country we left behind.”
In addition to being a prolific writer, Ray teaches leadership and forgiveness studies at Gonzaga University. His academic credentials are quite impressive.
According to the biography on Ray’s web site, “He holds a dual MFA in poetry and fiction from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University, a Masters in clinical psychology from Pepperdine, and a PhD in systems psychology from the University of Alberta in Canada. He has served as a research psychologist for the Centers for Disease Control and as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Humanities.”
The reading will begin at 7 p.m. Auntie’s Bookstore is located in downtown Spokane at 402 West Main Avenue. For more information, call (509) 838-0206.