2007 Library News

Author Rilla Askew to Speak at Ralph Ellison Library

Author and Oklahoman Rilla Askew will discuss Fire In Beulah at the Ralph Ellison Library Saturday, Feb. 17, 1 to 3 p.m. Askew's novel has been selected for Oklahoma's 2007 One Book One State program and is this year's Oklahoma Centennial Book.

Fire in Beulah is a story about Althea Whiteside, an oil wildcatter's high-strung white wife and her enigmatic black maid, Graceful. The stage is set in 1921 Tulsa with a backdrop of oil-boom opulence, fear, hate, and lynching that lead up to a violent climax in the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. Although a work of fiction, Fire in Beulah is based on a true event where whites burn the city of Tulsa 's prosperous black section to the ground.

Askew, who grew up in Bartlesville and knows the land and the people, says “Though my work is set in Oklahoma , I'm not a regional writer. America is my subject, Oklahoma the canvas… Oklahoma 's brief, violent history is a microcosm of all that's taken place on the North American continent for the past five hundred years.”

Askew, whose writing has been compared to Flannery O'Connor, Carson McCullers and Eudora Welty, was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award and received the Oklahoma Book Award in 1998 for her first novel Mercy Seat , also set in Oklahoma.

Fire in Beulah will be available for purchase and signing.

Ralph Ellison Library is located at 2000 N.E. 23. This program is free and open to the public.

The Metropolitan Library System of Oklahoma County includes 12 libraries and five extension libraries. Libraries include Belle Isle, Capitol Hill, Ralph Ellison, Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library and Southern Oaks in Oklahoma City, as well as Bethany, Choctaw, Del City, Edmond, Midwest City, Village and Warr Acres. Extensions are located in the communities of Harrah, Jones, Luther and Nicoma Park and include Wright Library in Oklahoma City . You can also reach us at www.metrolibrary.org.