Literary group overlaps southwestern, Middle Eastern history

Laila Lalami

Laila Lalami

The Literary Southwest will present two creative and accomplished writers, Laila Lalami and Laura Tohe, at 7 p.m. Friday. The event will take place in the Yavapai College Library's Susan Webb Community Room (Building 19, Room 147) on the Prescott campus.

An audience question-and-answer session and a book-signing will follow the reading. All Literary Southwest programs are free and open to all.

Laila Lalami was born and raised in Morocco, a place whose past and present permeate her writing. A novelist, short story writer, and essayist, she has garnered a strong following through her literary blog "MoorishGirl."

Lalami's highly praised new novel "The Moor's Account" imagines the life of the first black explorer of America - a Moroccan slave who was part of an ill-fated Spanish expedition that ventured across the Southwest in 1527.

Laura Tohe is Diné (Navajo) and holds a Ph.D. in indigenous American literature.

A librettist and an award-winning poet, her books include "No Parole Today," "Making Friends with Water," "Tséyi Deep in the Rock" (reflections on Canyon de Chelly), and "Code Talker Stories" (an oral history inspired by her father, Benson Tohe, a World War II Code Talker). Her commissioned libretto, "Enemy Slayer: A Navajo Oratorio," was performed by The Phoenix Symphony Orchestra. She currently is working on a hand-made book of poetry on Navajo weaving.

The Literary Southwest series is made possible by the Yavapai College and the Yavapai College Foundation, with additional support provided by Peregrine Book Company.

For complete author and series information, visit www.yc.edu/hassayampa or call series director Jim Natal at 928-776-2035.