Sharma Shields


LA GRANDE — Sharma Shields will read from her work as the Carl and Sandra Ellston Ars Literary Lecture Series opens the 2019-20 season.

The Eastern Oregon University program brings quality authors to the region to perform readings. The award-winning novelist will present her new novel, “The Cassandra,” Monday, Oct. 14 at Art Center East, 1006 Penn Ave., La Grande. The free event is open to the public.

“The Cassandra” follows the life of a young woman who runs away and becomes a secretary at the Hanford Research Center in the early 1940s. She foresees a dire future, but those in power ignore her warnings. Though a historical novel, “The Cassandra” is noted for its critique of patriarchy, militancy and the cultural preference for destruction.

Referred to Shields as “one of our finest literary fabulists,” novelist Shawn Vestal said the book glows with powerful insights about the nation’s reckless nuclear history and its corrosive chauvinism.” Also, the Kirkus Review said it includes a warning that’s impossible to ignore regarding the costs of blind adherence to ideology.

Shields also wrote “Favorite Monster,” a collection of short stories, and “The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac,” a novel about a young man’s search for the elusive creature who snatched his mother when he was 9 years old. Her short stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Kenyon Review and the Iowa Review. Shields has received several awards, including the 2016 Washington State Book Award, the Autumn House Fiction Prize and the Tim McGinnis Award for Humor.

Copies of her novels will be available for purchase and a book signing will occur after the reading. The author’s website is

For more information about the Carl and Sandra Ellston Ars Literary Lecture Series, contact English professor David Axelrod at 541-962-3633 or


Contact Community Editor Tammy Malgesini at or 541-564-4539

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