Home Lifestyle Award-winning Native American author Tommy Orange to speak at UNCP

Award-winning Native American author Tommy Orange to speak at UNCP

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PEMBROKE — Tommy Orange, the author of the New York Times bestselling novel “There There,” will speak at UNC Pembroke as part of the 2021-2022 Distinguished Speaker Series. 

Orange will appear on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, at 7 p.m. on the Givens Performing Arts Center stage.  

His book highlights a multi-generational, relentlessly paced story about a side of America few have ever seen: the lives of urban Native Americans. Orange shines a light on the violence and recovery, hope and loss, identity and power, dislocation and communion, and the beauty and despair woven into the history of a nation and its people.  

“We are so excited about bringing in Tommy Orange for American Indian Heritage Month,” said Abdul Ghaffar, director of Campus Engagement and Leadership. 

“We have been trying to get him here for nearly three years. However, due to scheduling conflicts and, of course, the pandemic, we were not able to make it happen. We are positive his visit will be worth the wait. A bonus is the phenomenal piece he wrote on Wes Studi for GQ magazine, who was one of our distinguished speakers in 2019. We love to have the connections between speakers.” 


“There There” is one of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the Year and won the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and the Pen/Hemingway Award. The novel also was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and was longlisted for the National Book Award.  

During his visit, Orange will talk about his craft, the writing process for “There There” and Native American history and culture. He is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma and was born and raised in Oakland, California.  

The Distinguished Speaker Series is presented by the Office of Campus Engagement and Leadership and GPAC. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for faculty/staff/children and free for UNCP students with a valid student ID.  

Orange’s visit is co-sponsored by the American Indian Heritage Center, American Indian Studies, Pembroke Mellon REACH Program, Native American Student Organization and Givens Performing Arts Center. 

Orange is the second speaker in the Distinguished Speaker Series and one of many events in celebration of American Indian Heritage Month at UNCP. Jesse Cole kicked spoke on Oct. 12. Bakari Sellers will speak on Feb. 28, 2022, Dr. Megan Ranney on March 15, 2022, and Angelina Boulley on March 28. 

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