‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ author Robin Wall Kimmerer to read for WSU

“People don’t know that these kinds of readings with creative writers and thinkers are missing from their life until they go to them.”



Robin Wall Kimmerer will read her book “Braiding Sweetgrass.”

SHAKIRA GONZALEZ-LUNA, Evergreen reporter

The Visiting Writers Series returns this spring with Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of this year’s Common Reading book “Braiding Sweetgrass,” through a collaboration with the Common Reading Program.

Kimmerer is giving this year’s Common Reading lecture at 6 p.m. on Tuesday through Zoom as the Visiting Writers Series’ first visiting author of the semester.

“[Kimmerer’s] work focuses on ecological knowledge reciprocity and providing both traditional indigenous and Western ecological knowledge to address climate change and restoration of our planet ecosystem,” Cameron McGill, Visiting Writers Series co-director, said.

There will also be watch parties of the lecture that people can attend together. The dates and locations are as follows:

  • WSU Pullman/First-Year Programs: 5:30 p.m. in room 202 at the Smith Center for Undergraduate Education
  • WSU Pullman/Native American Programs: 6 p.m. in Spark G-45
  • WSU Pullman/Olympia Residence Hall: 6 p.m. in the Olympia Avenue lobby
  • WSU Pullman/School of the Environment: 5:30 p.m. in Troy Hall 309

McGill said attending these webinars can be a life-changing experience, and that it can open minds to creativity and new book genres.

“People don’t know that these kinds of readings with creative writers and thinkers are missing from their life until they go to them, … and then they realize that it has been missing from their life,” McGill said.

There will also be a special lunch to represent all the meals that Kimmerer talked about in her book, said Karen Weathermon, Common Reading Program director. Northside, Hillside and Southside dining halls will offer the following meals from 12–2 p.m.:

  • Entrée: Maple-glazed salmon
  • Vegetarian Entrée: Three sisters stew
  • Sides:  
    • Wild rice pilaf
    • Corn cakes
    • Green beans with candied pecans
    • Griddled maple squash

McGill said deciding which authors to present to WSU students takes teamwork and time. The availability of the authors, WSU’s budget and the suggestions of students and faculty are other important factors when deciding which authors to bring in for the Visiting Writers Series, McGill said.

“We do our best to rotate through genres and other interesting events every year,” McGill said.

Kimmerer is the first of six visiting authors that will come to WSU this spring as part of the Visiting Writers Series. The following are the next authors:

  • Angel Sobotta: 6 p.m. Feb. 7
  • Jose Hernandez Diaz: 6 p.m. Feb. 15
  • Rena Priest: 6 p.m. March 22
  • Sarah Hennessey: 6 p.m. March 28
  • CMarie Fuhrman: 6 p.m. April 5

Weathermon said attending the Common Reading events can help students not only personally but also career-wise.

“Our hope is that when students encounter issues and problems and different kinds of topics, that you’re able to draw from all the different parts of your WSU education,” Weathermon said.

For more information about Kimmerer, visit her webpage on the MacArthur Foundation’s website.