MISSOULA – For those looking for some good books this year, the University of Montana Alumni Association has it covered. The UM Alumni Association just launched its first Alumni Book Club, featuring books by four acclaimed UM alumni writers, and a series of Zoom discussions with the authors.
The alumni authors will share their UM experiences and backstories on how their ideas and writing evolved with readers.
To participate, join the Alumni Book Club Facebook group. Books are available for purchase in local Missoula bookstores and online. Participants also can submit questions for the authors in advance when they register.
All Zoom book club discussions take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Mountain time:
- March 30: Pete Fromm (’81 Wildlife Biology), “Indian Creek Chronicles.”
- May 18: Kim Zupan (’78 English, M.F.A. ’84 Creative Writing), “The Ploughman.”
- September: James Welch (’65 Liberal Arts, Honorary Doctorate ’97,) “Killing Custer.” Presented by Lois Welch.
- November: Emily Danforth (M.F.A. ’06 Creative Writing), “The Miseducation of Cameron Post.”
In March, book club participants read Fromm’s “Indian Creek Chronicles,” a winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award. The story describes his seven winter months spent alone in a tent near the famed Indian Creek along the banks of the Selway River in the Bitterroot National Forest while guarding salmon eggs. Fromm is considered one of the premier voices of the West.
From April to May, book club members will read Zupan’s “The Ploughman,” set in Montana, which details the relationship between an aging killer awaiting trial and a troubled young deputy as they talk between the bars of a jail cell. Zupan is a native Montanan who grew up around Great Falls and also is a carpenter
August to September features Welch’s “Killing Custer,” co-authored with documentary filmmaker Paul Stekler, which examines the Plain Indians’ side of the story in the Battle of Little Bighorn as a final celebration of waning power and freedom. Welch, an internationally acclaimed writer, who was born in Browning and grew up in the Blackfeet and A’aninin tribes, died in 2003. His widow, Lois Welch, who formerly served as head of UM’s Department of English, will present the discussion.
The last read from October to November is Danforth’s “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” also set in Montana, which details the story of a lesbian teen sent to a gay conversion therapy center. Danforth’s novel was the basis for a 2018 movie that won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize, and she teaches English at Rhode Island College.
Membership in the Alumni Book Club is free. To find out more and register for the Zoom events, visit https://grizalum.org/events/book-club.php.
Contact: Jodi Moreau, UM alumni association associate director, 406-243-6124, firstname.lastname@example.org.