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Canisius professor takes national stage: Gansworth to read from new novel ‘Give me Some Truth’

Eric Gansworth, a professor of English and Lowery Writer-in-Residence at Canisius College, is one of three Native American writers who will read from their work in a prestigious national forum on Tuesday.

Gansworth will read a brief excerpt from his forthcoming novel as part of the panel presentation “Spotlight on Native Writers” at 4 p.m. in the Folger Shakespeare Library, held in collaboration with the Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center in Washington, D.C.

The panel precedes the launch of “LaRose,” the 15th novel of Louise Erdrich, who was the recipient of the 2015 Library of Congress Prize in American Fiction.

Gansworth, a member of the Onondaga Nation who was born and raised on the Tuscarora Reservation in Niagara County, said the panel grew out of discussions about “making more visible some writers beyond the very established few names.”

Although it’s common to describe lesser-known artists and writers as “emerging,” Gansworth quipped, “I’ve been emerging for a really long time!”

His first novel, “Indian Summers,” was published in 1998. It was followed by the novels “Smoke Dancing” in 2004, “Mending Skins,” winner of the PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Award, in 2005 and “Extra Indians,” winner of the American Book Award, in 2010; a young adult novel, “If I Ever Get Out of Here” in 2013; poetry books “Nickel Eclipse: Iroquois Moon” in 2000, “Breathing the Monster Alive” in 2006, “A Half-Life of Cardio-Pulmonary Function” in 2008, and “From the Western Door to the Lower West Side,” with Milton Rogovin, in 2009.

He edited the anthology “Sovereign Bones: New Native American Writing,” in 2007.

He is also a visual artist who has had numerous solo and group shows, and his books usually feature his art.

The panel features “people who have had these longer careers but have not necessarily been up in that upper echelon of visibility,” said Gansworth. The other two writers on the panel – Linda LeGarde Grover and Stephen Graham Jones – “are people whose work I know but I have never met,” said Gansworth.

“So I’m looking forward to meeting them.”

The reading and discussion will be moderated by award-winning writer Deborah Miranda.

Gansworth was looking over his novel, “Give Me Some Truth,” to pick a compelling but brief section he could read as part of the panel, which will include discussion and questions from the audience.

“I tend as a reader to want to give an audience a full chunk of something, so they can walk away with something memorable,” he said.

“So now it’s just a matter of finding those few pages that will fit into a 10-minute window that I think will give an audience an idea of what this book is going to be.”

In the fall, Gansworth will be National Endowment for the Humanities Visiting Professor of Native American Studies at Colgate University.