Author Sherman Alexie is speaking in Boise Wednesday, but the event at the 744-seat Egyptian Theater sold out three minutes after going on sale to the general public. That may have something to do with the free publicity Alexie has had in the Treasure Valley.
Last April the West Ada school board got the district some national attention for voting to remove Alexie’s novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, from a high school reading list. That came after some parents complained it was “filthy” and “racist.”
Sherman Alexie has joked that having his books banned is good for his sales. Britt Udensen is the executive director of The Cabin literary center in Boise, the organization sponsoring Alexie's visit. She says what happened in the school district that covers Meridian and west Boise last year probably made more people want to come to the lecture. It was the fastest a Cabin-sponsored event has sold.
But Udesen says they scheduled the event with Alexie before his book was banned.
“We brought him because we believe he is an important voice in American literature,” Udesen says. “Having said that, certainly a lot of people are talking about Sherman Alexie who might not have had [the controversy] not happened.”
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