Storytelling comes naturally to Leslie Marmon Silko, a leading author of the Native American literary renaissance in the 1970s.

Silko, who grew up listening to stories of her fathers people and trying to identify with that shared history, will be visiting West Virginia University as an elder-in-residence with the Native American Studies program in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.

She will speak at 7:30 p.m. today (April 7) in the Gold Ballroom of the Mountainlair. The event is free and open to the public; a book signing will follow the presentation. Additionally, the public is invited to a 6:30 p.m. reception, which will feature flute music by Rick Rivard.

During her visit to WVU as an elder-in-residence, Silko will also give a seminar for graduate students and faculty in creative writing, and she will speak with students who have read her works in Native American studies and English courses. The classroom activities are not open to the general public.

Silko has penned novels, short stories, essays, poetry, articles and film scripts. Her writing combines western literary forms with her own Laguna Pueblo heritage to communicate Native American concepts and discuss time, nature and spirituality in the contemporary world.

Silko has been recognized through various organizations and awardsincluding the National Endowment for the Arts, MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship and Rosewater Foundation Grantand she received an honorary doctoral degree from the University of New Mexico. She was the youngest writer to be included in The Norton Anthology of Womens Literature for her short storyLullabyand has many published works includingThe Man to Send Rain Clouds,Laguna Woman,Ceremony,Almanac of the DeadandGardens in the Dunes.Ocean Story(a novella) and her memoir,The Turquoise Ledge,will be released soon.

Silko has a bachelors degree in English and masters degree in creative writing from the University of New Mexico. A former professor of English and fiction writing, she taught at the Navajo Community College. She lives in Tucson, Ariz., and is currently working on the novelBlue Sevens.

Leslie Marmon Silko is one of the most accomplished and celebrated Native American authors of our time,said Bonnie M. Brown, coordinator of WVU s Native American Studies Program.We are fortunate and excited to have her serve as our elder-in-residence.

The elder-in-residence program at WVU is co-sponsored by the Carolyn Reyer Endowment for Native American Studies, with funding and support from Carolyn Reyer and WVU s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English and Center for Womens Studies.