Spokane Journalist Signatures Return with Books at NW Passages Summer Events

Spokane is such a fertile writing ground. And summer is always more fun with a book to read. Northwest Passages would therefore like to suggest a few former journalists from the Pacific Northwest, as well as an advocate for Ukrainian culture here in Spokane.

From Ukraine to Spokane

Eli Francovich was sent as a correspondent to cover the war in Ukraine for The Spokesman-Review. With approximately 30,000 Ukrainian refugees making Spokane their home, what happens in Ukraine has a little more impact in the Pacific Northwest. Francovich will talk about his experience and show some of his behind-the-scenes photographs to the audience at Northwest Passages at 7 p.m. on June 21 at the Montvale Event Center, 1019 W. First Ave., in Spokane. General admission tickets are available for $7 at spokane7tickets.com.

Prior to Francovich’s talks, Spokane-based Ukrainian publisher Lost Horse Press will feature poetry from some of Ukraine’s greatest poets.

According to Publishers’ Weekly, wartime conditions have affected half of Ukrainian publishers: “The majority of publishers, 51%, continue to publish but have changed their business models, taking measures such as reducing their working hours.

39% of publishers had not changed models when the survey was conducted by Ukrainian trade publication Chytomo from March 26 to April 8.

Christine Lysnewwycz Holbert continued to bring Ukrainian culture to life with Lost Horse, which publishes a series in bilingual editions.

“Eccentric Days of Hope & Sorry” by Natalka Bilotserkivets, translated by Ali Kinsella and Dzvinia Orlowsky, has been shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize. Holbert will open the evening with a poem and speak specifically about the challenges faced by artists, authors and poets during the Ukrainian war.

jess walter

Northwest Passages is proud to partner with Auntie’s Bookstore to help with the June 28 launch of Jess Walter’s short story collection, “The Angel of Rome and Other Stories.”

The event is at 7 p.m., June 28 at the Bing, 901 W. Sprague Ave.

Two of the stories originally appeared in The Spokesman-Review’s short story series, Summer Stories. The VIP reception is sold out, general admission tickets are still available for $7. Auntie’s Bookstore will be at the Bing selling copies of Walter’s book, as well as that of his conversation partner, Spokesman-Review columnist Shawn Vestal.

Lea Sottile

Leah Sottile’s signature is familiar to Spokane readers. Sottile is an award-winning journalist influenced by the aforementioned mentors Bill Morlin and Jess Walter and his coverage of Ruby Ridge. She goes on stage at Montvale in 7 p.m., July 6.

To say that “religious extremism” is its rhythm would not be far off. Her book, “When the Moon Turns to Blood” (June 21 release date) hits local with the Rexburg, Idaho, case of former beauty queen Lori Vallow and her husband, gravedigger turned apocalyptic novelist, Chad Daybell . Sottile will participate in an onstage conversation with spokesperson-Review crime/city reporter Emma Epperly.

Putsata Reang

Putsata Reang emigrated from Cambodia as a child in her mother’s arms. Her mother rebuffed the boat captain’s efforts to throw her child overboard, and that connection began their complex relationship. Reang grew up in rural Oregon and spent time writing for The Spokesman-Review before The New York Times, Politico and The Seattle Times and the San Jose Mercury News. Her memoir, “Ma and Me,” explores the legacy of trauma and cultural identity, and how Reang navigated her complicated upbringing. NAACP president and spokesperson Kiantha Duncan will discuss the book and the issues associated with feeling like “other.”

She is ready to talk about her book to 7 p.m., July 27 at the Montvale Events Center.

Jim DeFede

“The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland” by Jim DeFede chronicled the real events of grounded airlines from around the world that arrived in Gander after 9/11. Best of Broadway presents the play “Come From Away” in the days that follow. What better way to familiarize yourself with the piece than by reading a book? The piece is inspired by real events and people DeFede spoke with to write his book. Jim DeFede, who writes for The Spokesman-Review, will be in conversation with his former colleague, Jess Walter. The event is at 7 p.m., August 8 at Bing.

Proceeds from Northwest Passages events go directly to fund local journalism and support The Spokesman-Review reporters.

Colin L. Johnson