Norman Public Library
Oklahoma author Rilla Askew will take part in “A Conversation about Fiction and Faith,” set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, at First Christian Church, 220 S. Webster Ave.
The discussion will center on “Kind of Kin,” Askew’s newest book, which offers religious undertones throughout, with many of its characters being affected and influenced in their own ways from their faith.
Askew will be joined in the discussion by Kathryn Ramsey, a commissioned lay pastor who attends United Church of Norman, UCC, and also serves as the Pioneer Library System’s Local History and Genealogy Resources Librarian, and April Coates, a minister with the First United Methodist Church in Wilburton, Okla., in the part of the state where Askew’s new book is based.
The book is inspired by the push of legislation made in 2007 in the Oklahoma State Legislature to toughen immigration laws in the state, and the reaction caused for those personally affected by the legislation.
Several months after the controversy began about the Oklahoma bill, Askew found the inspiration for her latest work when awakening from her sleep hearing the voice of a young boy.
“Your granddaddy’s a felon because he’s a Christian,” the little voice of what became one of the children in the book said. That line led to many weeks of writing and research into the tale of how a family and a town handled a new law and the impact it had on its faith and sense of community.
The topic itself of pronounced Christians then supporting such treatment of illegal immigrants, as is seen in the book, brings a real-life dilemma that goes beyond the pages of the book for many.
“I don’t necessarily have that much to say about it, and what is it’s in the book,” Askew said. “But this gets conversation going for people who have experienced this and have maybe not been able to talk about it, to make others aware.”
Askew’s accomplishments during her writing include being the recipient of the 2011 Arrell Gibson Award, given annually by the Oklahoma Center for the Book for outstanding contribution to literature by an Oklahoma author.
She was celebrity writer-in-residence at the University of Oklahoma Honors College from 2005 to 2008, and also has taught at Syracuse University, Brooklyn College, the University of Central Oklahoma and University of Massachusetts Amherst.
For more information on the presentation, call the Norman Public Library at 701-2600.