The Norman Transcript

January 25, 2013

Author combines faith, fiction in book, presentation

Transcript Staff
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Oklahoma author Rilla Askew will take part in “A Conversation about Fiction and Faith,” set for 7 p.m. Thursday at First Christian Church, 220 S. Webster Ave.

The author and the library system are partnering with First Christian and the Norman Ministerial Alliance for discussion about the book in appropriate times with local congregations, culminating in this community program to talk about the book and its themes.

“Kind of Kin” offers religious undertones throughout, with many of its characters being affected and influenced in their own ways from their faith.

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 it is in the book,” she 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.”

The launch of Askew’s newest book is taking the Pioneer Library System into uncharted territory programming-wise, both with the First Christian event as well as the national book launch party that took place earlier this month at the Norman Public Library.

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 or go online to

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