Rilla Askew, a multiple award winning American novelist and short story writer, was born in southeastern Oklahoma and grew up in Bartlesville. In her recently published first nonfiction collection, Most American: Notes from a Wounded Place, Askew casts an unflinching eye on American history, both past and present, through nine linked essays. The collection evokes a vivid impression of the United States: police violence and gun culture, ethnic cleansing and denied history, spellbinding landscapes and brutal weather. To render these conditions in the particulars of place, Askew spotlights the complex history of Oklahoma as a microcosm of our national saga. Askew argues, we must own our contradictory selves — our violence and prejudices, as well as our hard work and generosity — so the wounds of division in our society can heal. With grace and authority she speaks honestly about the failures of the dominant culture in which she grew up, even as she expresses a sense of love for its people.