An Oklahoma history author will be in town for a book signing and Q&A next Thursday.
As part of the ongoing Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma series at Champion Public Library, Rilla Askew, author of “Fire In Beulah,” will attend a led discussion about the book. Sharon Burris, a member of Murray State College’s language arts department in Ardmore, will serve as the speaker. Reference and adult services librarian Pam Bean said Burris took it upon herself to contact Askew, who agreed to attend.
“She knew she was in Norman, so she just called her and she said she’d be glad to,” Bean said.
Author Rilla Askew will join the presentation at 6:30 p.m., and will be available for a meet and greet and book signing following the discussion. Presentations in the series cover the general background of a chosen book, the author, and give context to the work. Bean said this is the first time an author has joined the discussion.
“Fire In Beulah” is a historical fiction novel about the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, also known as the Tulsa Race Riot, where white mobs attacked a wealthy black district of Tulsa, and what led up to the incident.
“The Tulsa Race Riots are really odd in that they’re not often taught in schools,” Bean said. “I didn’t know about it until I was in college.”
Bean said the program is funded in part by a grant from Oklahoma Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Many of the books participants read are historical, some are historical fiction, but they all square with an ongoing theme. This year’s theme, The Oklahoma Experience: Re-Visions, focuses on history from a late 20th century perspective.
“There’s usually someone who has a humanities background who puts these together,” Bean said. “The money is given through different foundations to Oklahoma Humanities, then we apply for it.”
Another year’s theme, Not Just For Children, explored the deeper themes in children’s books. Another historical book took a different approach, spinning a murder mystery that took place on historic Route 66.
The presentation is scheduled for 6 p.m. March 28 at the Champion Public Library in Ardmore.