Jamie Natonabah Selected as Recipient of the IAIA MFA in Creatve Writing Program’s First Sherman Alexie Scholarship

Jamie Natonabah

Published July 14, 2017
SANTA FE – The Institute of American Indian Arts’ (IAIA) Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing has announced the recipient of the first annual Sherman Alexie Scholarship.
Jamie Natonabah (Diné) will receive $7,500 per semester for four semesters, for a total of $30,000, $24,000 of which will be applied to tuition. The remaining $6,000 will help pay for her travel, lodging, books, and meals during the five residencies in Santa Fe. Jamie is an IAIA Alumnae.Jamie is from Fort Defiance, Arizona. For twenty-eight years she has embraced her love of writing which has evolved into a thirst for personal truth created largely through poetry. She won first place in the New Mexico Slam Poetry Competition (online). Also, for two consecutive years, Jamie participated in performances of her poetry through funding from the Witter Bynner Foundation. Her work has been published in Red Ink: An International Journal of Indigenous Literature, Arts, & Humanities as well as the IAIA Literary Anthologies Bone Light and Fourth World Rising among others. Jamie is now living in Santa Fe with her partner Paul and daughter Anastasia Moriarty.

Chelsea Hicks Bryan (Osage) was chosen as runner-up. Third place was awarded to Grace Randolph (Wampanoag).  Both students will receive significant scholarships.

All applicants to the Institute of American Indian Arts’ MFA in Creative Writing who are enrolled members of a Native American tribe or First Nation were eligible to apply for the scholarship. The application also required a creative writing sample as the competition entry.

The initial screening of entries was done by IAIA MFA’s Native faculty. The final selection was personally made by Sherman Alexie (Spokane/Coeur d’Alene).

Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction, aPEN/Hemingway Citation for Best First Fiction, and the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, Sherman Alexie is a poet, short story writer, novelist, and performer who serves as program consultant and workshop leader for the IAIA MFA program.

He has published 26 books including his recently released memoir, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, his first picture book, Thunder Boy Jr, and the young adult novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, all from Little, Brown Books; What I’ve Stolen, What I’ve Earned, a book of poetry, from Hanging Loose Press; and Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories, from Grove Press.

Smoke Signals, the movie he wrote and co-produced, won the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival.

Alexie grew up in Wellpinit, Washington, on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Alexie has been an urban Indian since 1994 and lives in Seattle with his family.

Jon Davis, Director of the IAIA MFA Program commented, “This year the MFA program will give away over $200,000 in scholarships, including significant scholarships from the Beverly and Michael Morris Foundation and the Truman Capote TrustThe Sherman Alexie Scholarship is the most generous of these awards and will provide Jamie Natonabah a chance to focus on her writing for two years. We look forward to reading what she and her classmates produce as we continue our quest to rewrite the literary landscape.”

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