Sherman Alexie & Joy Harjo to headline The Institute of American Indian Arts’ Writers Festival:  January 2 – 9, 2016 

Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo

Public Invited to Free Nightly Readings on the IAIA campus

Published November 23, 2015

SANTA FE — The Institute of American Indian Arts’ (IAIA) Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing presents The 2016 Winter Writers Festival — January 2-9, 2016. Readings by noted authors will take place each night beginning at 6:00 pm in the Auditorium in the Library and Technology Center (LTC) on the IAIA campus — located at 83 Avan Nu Po Road, eight minutes from the intersection of Rodeo Road and Richards Avenue, on the south side of Santa Fe.  For directions and a map of the campus,click here.

Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie

In addition to a slate of published authors, IAIA students will participate in the festival — with Student Showcase Readings immediately after the featured readers on January 6 and 8.  For a full festival schedule, please visit the event page on Facebook by clicking here. 

This time, the festival features visiting writers Joy Harjo (Mvskogee), David Treuer (Ojibwe), Shane Book,Cynthia Cruz, Nathalie Handal, and Toni Jensen (Métis), as well as MFA faculty writers Sherman Alexie (Spokane/Coeur d’Alene), Pam Houston, Claire Vaye Watkins, Manuel Gonzales, Joan Naviyuk Kane (Iñupiaq), Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Derek Palacio, Marie Helene-Bertino, Melissa Febos,Ramona Ausubel, Ismet Prcic, Elissa Washuta (Cowlitz), Sherwin Bitsui (Diné), Natalie Diaz (Mojave),Santee Frazier (Cherokee), Chip Livingston (Creek), and James Thomas Stevens (Akwesasne Mohawk).

MFA Director Jon Davis says of this year’s Winter Writers Festival: “This year we have a dozen writers with books just out or just going to press. Given that the MFA students are here to engage the process of writing books, it’s an exciting time for us to experience that thrill that comes when visitors and faculty read new work, work that’s just touching readers for the first time.”

Joy Harjo’s eight books of poetry include Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems, and She Had Some Horses. Harjo’s memoir Crazy Brave won several awards, including the PEN USA Literary Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the American Book Award. She is the recipient of the 2015 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets for proven mastery in the art of poetry; a Guggenheim Fellowship, the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the United States Artist Fellowship. In 2014 she was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. A renowned musician, Harjo performs with her saxophone nationally and internationally, solo and with her band, the Arrow Dynamics. She has five award-winning CDs of music including the album Red Dreams, A Trail Beyond Tears, and Winding Through the Milky Way, which won a Native American Music Award for Best Female Artist of the Year in 2009. She is Professor of English and American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

David Truer

David Truer

David Treuer is Ojibwe from Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. His fourth novel, Prudence(Riverhead Books, 2015) was longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, the 1996 Minnesota Book Award, and fellowships from the NEH, Bush Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He is the author of three previous novels, a nonfiction book, and a book of criticism. His essays and stories have appeared in Esquire, TriQuarterly, The Washington Post, the LA Times, and Slate.com. His third novel, The Translation of Dr. Apelles was named a Best Book of the Year by the Washington Post, Time Out, and City Pages.

Shane Book

Shane Book

Shane Book’s first collection, Ceiling of Sticks, won the 2009 Prairie Schooner Book Prize and the 2012 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award, and was a 2011 Poetry Society of America “New American Poet” Selection. His second collection Congotronic (2015), was shortlisted for the Canadian Griffin Prize. He is a graduate of New York University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. His work has appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines in the U.S., U.K., and Canada-and on film. He has received scholarships to the MacDowell Colony, Brazil’s Sacatar Foundation, the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program, and Cave Canem. His honors include a New York Times Fellowship in Poetry, Fellowships to the Flaherty Film Seminar and the Telluride Film Festival, an Academy of American Poets Prize, and a National Magazine Award.

Cynthia Cruz

Cynthia Cruz

Poet Cynthia Cruz is the author of Wunderkammer (Four Way Books, 2014), The Glimmering Room (Four Way Books, 2012), and Ruin (Alice James, 2006). Her fourth collection, How the End Begins, is forthcoming from Four Way Books in the spring of 2016. Cruz has published poems in numerous literary journals and magazines including The New Yorker, Kenyon Review, Paris Review, and Boston Review, and in anthologies including Isn’t it Romantic: 100 Love Poems by Younger Poets and The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries. She is the recipient of a Hodder fellowship from Princeton University. Cruz earned her MFA in Creative Writing at Sarah Lawrence College and her MFA in Art Writing & Criticism at the School of Visual Arts. She has published essays, interviews, book and art reviews in the LA Review of Books,Hyperallergic, Guernica, The American Poetry Review, and The Rumpus. She lives in Brooklyn and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.

Natalie Handal

Natalie Handal

Nathalie Handal was raised in Latin America, France, and the Arab world and educated in the United States and United Kingdom. She is the author of the flash collection The Republics, winner of the Virginia Faulkner Award for Excellence in Writing; La estrella invisible / The Invisible Star; Poet in Andalucía; and Love and Strange Horses, winner of the Gold Medal Independent Publisher Book Award. She is editor of The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology, winner of the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award and named one of the Top 10 Feminist Books by The Guardian, and co-editor of the W.W. Norton landmark anthology Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia & Beyond.

Author of eight plays, her most recent works have been produced at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Bush Theatre, and Westminster Abbey. Her work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Guernica Magazine, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Nation, and Ploughshares. Handal is a Lannan Foundation Fellow, winner of the Alejo Zuloaga Order in Literature, and Finalist for the Gift of Freedom Award. She is a professor at Columbia University and Low Residency MFA Faculty at Sierra Nevada College.

Toni Jensen

Toni Jensen

Toni Jensen (Métis) is the author of From the Hilltop, a collection of linked stories published through the Native Storiers Series at the University of Nebraska Press. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Stories from the South: The Year’s Best, 2007; Best of the West: Stories from the Wide Side of the Missouri, 2011; and Denver Quarterly, among others.  She holds a PhD from Texas Tech University and teaches in the MFA program at the University of Arkansas.

Fiction writer, poet, performer, screenwriter, and filmmaker Sherman Alexie (Spokane/Coeur d’Alene) is the author of twenty books, including, most recently, Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories from Grove Press; War Dances, stories and poems, from Grove Press; and What I’ve Stolen, What I’ve Earned, poetry, from Hanging Loose Press. He is the winner of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in poetry, the PEN/Faulkner Award, National Book Award, PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story, American Book Award, and a Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Award. He was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Fiction. In 1999, he was selected by The New Yorker as one of its “20 Writers for the 21st Century” and, in 1996, Granta named him one of the “Twenty Best American Novelists Under the Age of 40.” He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Letters in 2015.

Pam Houston’s most recent book is Contents May Have Shifted, published by W.W. Norton in 2012. She is also the author of two collections of linked short stories, Cowboys Are My Weakness and Waltzing the Cat, the novel Sight Hound, and a collection of essays, A Little More About Me, all published by W.W. Norton. Her stories have been selected for volumes of Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Awards, The 2013 Pushcart Prize, and Best American Short Stories of the Century. She is the winner of the Western States Book Award, the WILLA award for contemporary fiction, The Evil Companions Literary Award and multiple teaching awards. She is Professor of English at UC Davis, directs the literary nonprofit Writing By Writers, and teaches in The Pacific University low residency MFA program and at writer’s conferences around the country and the world. She lives on a ranch at 9,000 feet in Colorado near the headwaters of the Rio Grande.

Claire Vaye Watkins was raised in the Mojave Desert, first in Tecopa, California, and then across the state line in Pahrump, Nevada. Watkins earned her MFA from Ohio State University, where she was a Presidential Fellow. Her stories and essays have appeared in Granta, One Story, The Paris Review, Ploughshares,Glimmer Train, Best of the West 2011, New Stories from the Southwest 2013, The New York Times and elsewhere. Claire has received fellowships from the Writers’ Conferences at Sewanee and Bread Loaf. Her collection of short stories, Battleborn (Riverhead Books), won the Story Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. A finalist for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize,Battleborn was named a best book of 2012 by the San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Time Out New York, Flavorwire, and NPR.org. In 2012, Claire was selected as one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35.” A 2014 Guggenheim Fellow and an assistant professor at Bucknell University, Claire is also the co-director, with Derek Palacio, of the Mojave School, a free creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada. Her first novel is GOLD FAME CITRUS from Riverhead Books.

Manuel Gonzales is the author of the collection, The Miniature Wife and Other Stories (Riverhead Books) and the novel, The Regional Office is Under Attack! (Riverhead Books). He was awarded the 2014 Academy of Arts & Letters Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction and the 2014 Binghamton University John Gardner Fiction Book Award. His fiction and essays have been published in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Tin House Magazine, Fence Magazine, Open City Magazine, One Story, Esquire, and The Believer Magazine. He was the co-owner and baker for the Clarksville Pie Company in Austin, Texas, founded the writing workshop, Austin Writer’s Lab, was the director of Austin Bat Cave, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center for kids. He teaches creative writing at the University of Kentucky.

Joan Naviyuk Kane is Inupiaq with family from King Island and Mary’s Igloo, Alaska. She received a 2009 Whiting Writers’ Award for her first poetry collection, The Cormorant Hunter’s Wife, published first by NorthShore Press Alaska and in its second edition by the University of Alaska Press. Her second book, Hyperboreal, received the 2012 AWP Donald Hall Prize in Poetry and was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. She has received an American Book Award, an Alaska Literary Award, both an Individual Artist award and an Artist Fellowship from the Rasmuson Foundation, a fellowship from the Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Alaska Conservation Foundation’s Native Writers on the Environment award, a Fellowship from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, and the United States Artists Creative Vision Award. A chapbook, The Straits, was published as part of the series Voices from the American Land in 2015.

Rachel Eliza Griffiths is a poet and visual artist. She is the author of four poetry collections, including Lighting the Shadow (Four Way Books, 2015). Griffiths’ literary and visual work has appeared widely. She is the creator and director of P.O.P (Poets on Poetry), a video series of contemporary poets featured by the Academy of American Poets. She is the recipient of fellowships including the Cave Canem Foundation, Yaddo, Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, Millay Colony, Vermont Studio Center, and others. Selected by Poetry Society of America, Griffiths curated the Poetry Walk for the 2015  Frida Kahlo: Art Garden Life exhibition at the New York Botanical Garden. Currently, Griffiths teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Derek Palacio holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the Ohio State University. His short fiction has appeared in Puerto del Sol and The Kenyon Review, and his story “Sugarcane” was selected for inclusion in The O. Henry Prize Stories 2013. His novella, How to Shake the Other Man, was published by Nouvella Books in spring 2013. He is the co-director, with Claire Vaye Watkins, of the Mojave School, a non-profit creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada. His novel, The Mortifications, about a small Cuban family struggling to remain whole after fleeing the island as part of the 1980 Mariel Boatlift will be published in the fall of 2016.

Marie-Helene Bertino’s debut novel 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas, just out in paperback, was a Barnes & Noble Fall ’14 Discover Great New Writers pick. Her debut collection of short stories Safe as Houses received The 2012 Iowa Short Fiction Award, The Pushcart Prize, and was long-listed for The Story Prize and The Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize. Her stories have appeared in The Pushcart Prize Anthology XXXIII, Granta, Salon.com, North American Review, Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, and Mississippi Review’s Anthology 30. She has taught for NYU, One Story’s Emerging Writer’s Workshop, The Sackett Street Writers, and NYC’s The Center for Fiction, where she was an Emerging Writer Fellow in 2011. She lives in Brooklyn, where she was the Associate Editor of One Story for six years. She has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony and Hedgebrook Writers Residency.

Melissa Febos is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Whip Smart (St. Martin’s Press 2010). Her forthcoming collection of essays is Abandon Me from Bloomsbury. Her work has been widely anthologized and has appeared in publications including Glamour, Salon, Dissent, The Southeast Review, New York Times, Bitch Magazine, The Rumpus, Drunken Boat, Hunger Mountain, andThe Chronicle of Higher Education Review. The recipient of two MacDowell Colony fellowships, the Creative Nonfiction prize from Prairie Schooner, and a Bread Loaf William Sloan Fellowship in Nonfiction, Melissa teaches nonfiction in the Sarah Lawrence MFA Program, and has been featured on NPR’s Fresh Air, CNN’s Dr. Drew, and Anderson Cooper Live.

Ramona Ausubel is the author of the novel No One is Here Except All of Us, winner of the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Fiction, the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, and Finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award. Her new collection of stories, A Guide to Being Born, was one the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of the year and a San Francisco Chronicle best book of the year. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review Daily, One Story, Salon (online), The Best American Fantasy and was shortlisted in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Non-Required Reading. She has a new novel, Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty, and a new collection of stories,Awayland, both forthcoming from Riverhead Books.

Ismet Prcic was born in Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and immigrated to the United States in 1996. His debut novel Shards was published in 2011 by Black Cat, imprint of Grove Press to critical acclaim, winning the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for first fiction, the Writers Center First Novel Prize, the Oregon Book Award and many others. It was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and has been translated into nine languages. A recipient of a 2010 National Endowment for the Arts award for fiction he is also a Sundance and Jerusalem screenwriting lab fellow. He co-wrote the screenplay for the film Imperial Dreams which premiered in January at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and won the audience award in its category. Prcic lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and two annoying cats.

Elissa Washuta, a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, is the author of My Body Is a Book of Rules, a memoir from Red Hen Press. Her second book, Starvation Mode: A Memoir of Food, Consumption, and Control was published in June by Instant Futures, a micro press out of Portland, Oregon. Her work has appeared in Salon, The Chronicle of Higher Education, As/Us, Filter Literary Journal, and Third Coast. She recently received a Potlatch Fund Native Arts Grant, an Artist Trust GAP Award, and a 4Culture Grant. In 2012, she was named an inaugural fellow in the Made at Hugo House program. She serves as adviser and lecturer for the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Washington.

Sherwin Bitsui is originally from White Cone, Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation. He is Dine of the Todich’ii’nii (Bitter Water Clan), born for the Tl’izilani (Many Goats Clan). He is the author of Shapeshift (University of Arizona Press, 2003) and Flood Song (Copper Canyon Press, 2009). His recent honors include a 2011 Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship and a 2011 Native Arts & Culture Foundation Arts Fellowship. He is also the recipient of a 2010 PEN Open Book Award, an American Book Award, and a Whiting Writers Award.

Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press in April of 2012.  Her poems received the Narrative Prize and appeared in Best American Poetry and the annual Pushcart Prize collection. She is the recipient of a Lannan Residency in Marfa, Texas; a Native Arts & Culture Foundation Arts Fellowship; a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a Holmes National Poetry Prize, a Bread Loaf Scholarship and Fellowship, a Hodder Fellowship, and a United States Artist Fellowship.

Santee Frazier is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. He holds a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts and an MFA from Syracuse University. He is the recipient of various awards including: a Syracuse University Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Residency Fellowship, The School for Advanced Research Indigenous Writer in Residence, and a Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Fellowship. His poems have appeared in American Poet, Narrative Magazine, Ontario Review, Ploughshares, and other literary journals. His first collection of poetry, Dark Thirty, was published by the University of Arizona Press in 2009.

Chip Livingston is the mixed-blood Creek author of three books: two collections of poetry, Crow-Blue, Crow-Black (2012) and Museum of False Starts (2010); and a collection of short stories and creative nonfiction, Naming Ceremony (2014). His writing has received awards from Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas, Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers, and the AABB Foundation. Chip’s writing has appeared in the anthologies The People Who Stayed, Sing, Sovereign Erotics, and Dias de los Muertos. He has taught at the University of Colorado, University of the Virgin Islands, and Brooklyn College.

James Thomas Stevens is the Chair of the BFA Creative Writing Program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. A member of the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation in upstate New York, Stevens grew up between three reservations;  the two where his grandparents came from, Akwesasne Territory and Six Nations Reserve, and the one where they settled, the Tuscarora Nation. Stevens earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Brown University. He has taught at Haskell Indian Nations University and the State University of New York at Fredonia. Stevens has published seven books of poetry, including Combing the Snakes from His Hair, for which he was awarded a 2000 Whiting Writer’s Award, A Bridge Dead in the Water, Mohawk/Samoa: Transmigrations (with Caroline Sinavaiana), Bulle/Chimere, and Tokinish. His work has been anthologized in works such as Genocide of the Mind, Visit Teepee Town, and Sovereign Bones.

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