IAIA - Institute of American Indian Arts

July 25-August 1, 2015IAIA Writers Festival 2015 Summer Edition: July 25 – August 1

The Writers Festival

Institute of American Indian Arts

July 25 – August 1, 2015 

Free Admission to nightly readings on the IAIA campus


SANTA FE, NM – July 10, 2015 – The Institute of American Indian Arts’ (IAIA) Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing presents The Writers Festival — July 25 – August 1, 2105.  Readings by noted authors will take place each night beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Auditorium — located in the Library and Technology Center (LTC) on the IAIA campus — 83 Avan Nu Po Road, minutes off of Richards Avenue on the south side of Santa Fe.  These readings are open to the public and free of charge.


In addition to a slate of published authors, IAIA students will participate in the festival — with Student Showcase Readings on July 31 and August 1.  For a full festival schedule, please visit the event page on Facebook by clicking here.


Some of the authors participating in The Writers Festival include:


Ramona Ausubel, the author of the novel No One is Here Except All of Us (winner of the PEN/USA award in Fiction) and the story collection A Guide to Being Born (A New York Times Notable Book). Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, One Story, Ploughshares, the Oxford American and Electric Literature.  Her new novel will be released in 2016 with a second collection of stories to follow.

Marie-Helene Bertino’s debut novel 2 a.m.at the Cat’s Pajamas was a Best Book of 2014 at NPR and others. Her debut collection of short stories Safe as Houses received The 2012 Iowa Short Fiction Award and The Pushcart Prize. She teaches at NYU, in the low-residency MFA program at IAIA, and works for One Story, where she was Associate Editor. She hails from Philly but lives in Brooklyn with a poet, a fox, two cats, and a cactus named Dr. Emmett Brown.

Sherwin Bitsui is originally from White Cone, Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation. He is Diné 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 & Cultures Foundation Arts Fellowship. He is also the recipient of a 2010 PEN Open Book Award, an American Book Award, and a Whiting Writers Award.


Ana Castillo is a celebrated poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, editor, playwright, translator, and independent scholar. Her novels include So Far From God, The Guardians, and Peel My Love like an Onion. Her novel, Sapogonia was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. She has been profiled and interviewed on National Public Radio and the History Channel and was a radio-essayist with NPR in Chicago. Ana Castillo is editor of La Tolteca, an arts and literary ‘zine dedicated to the advancement of a world without borders and censorship, and she serves on the advisory board of the new American Writers Museum in D.C. Castillo held the first Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Endowed Chair at DePaul University, The Martin Luther King, Jr Distinguished Visiting Scholar post at M.I.T., and was the Poet-in-Residence at Westminster College in Utah in 2012. She received an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation for her first novel, The Mixquiahuala Letters. Her other awards include a Carl Sandburg Award, a Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts in fiction and poetry. Her novel Give It To Me was awarded Best Bisexual Fiction in 2014 by the Lambda Foundation. The 20th anniversary updated edition of the essay collection, Massacre of the Dreamers, was released in 2014. Her forthcoming collection of personal essays, Swimming with Sharks: A Mother’s and Son’s Urban Life Stories with be released by The Feminist Press in 2016. The award-winning novel in verse, Watercolor Women, Opaque Men, will be re-released in 2016 by Northwestern University Press.

John D’Agata is the author of Halls of Fame, About a Mountain, and The Lilfespan of a Fact, as well as the editor of the forthcoming 3-volume series A New History of the Essay. He teaches creative writing at the University of Iowa, where he is the Director of the Nonfiction Writing Program.

Natalie Diaz grew up in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Community. After playing professional basketball in Europe and Asia for several years, she completed her MFA in poetry and fiction at Old Dominion University. She has been awarded the 2014 Bread Loaf

Fellowship, the 2012 Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Literature Fellowship, and a 2012 Lannan Literary Fellowship. She won a Pushcart Prize in 2013, the 2014 Holmes Prize, and a 2014 Ford Foundation Fellowship. Her first book, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published in June 2012, by Copper Canyon Press. She currently lives in Mohave Valley, Arizona, and directs a language revitalization program at Fort Mojave, her home reservation. There she works and teaches with the last Elder speakers of the Mojave language.


Melissa Febos is the author of the memoir, Whip Smart (St. Martin’s Press). Her work appears in The Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Glamour, Post Road, Salon, New York Times, Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York, and elsewhere.  Her essays have won prizes from Prairie Schooner, Story Quarterly, and The Center for Women Writers, and she is the recipient of fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, The Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and The MacDowell Colony. The recipient of an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, she is currently Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Monmouth University. She serves on the Executive Board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, and has co-curated the Manhattan reading and music series, “Mixer”, for eight years. The daughter of a sea captain and a psychotherapist, she was raised on Cape Cod and lives in Brooklyn.


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, A Native Arts Council Foundation Literary Fellowship, and The School for Advanced Research Indigenous Writer in Residence. 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.

Manuel Gonzales
is the author of the collection, The miniature Wife and Other Stories (Riverhead Books) and the forthcoming 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 has taught 10th and 11th grade English in Paris, Texas, was the co-owner and baker for the Clarksville Pie Company in Austin, Texas, founded the writing workshop, Austin Writer’s Lab, was formerly the director of Austin Bat Cave, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center for kids, and is part of the creative writing faculty at the University of Kentucky.


Rachel Eliza Griffiths is a poet and visual artist. She is the author of four poetry collections, including Lighting the Shadow, which was recently published by Four Way Books in 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.


Ernestine Hayes belongs to the Kaagwaantaan clan of the Eagle side of the Lingit nation. Hayes’s first book, Blonde Indian: An Alaska Native Memoir (University of Arizona Press, 2006), won the American Book Award and was a finalist for the PEN Nonfiction Award and the Kiriyama Prize. Other published works include Images of America Juneau (Arcadia Publishing, 2013), and Aanka Xóodzi ka Aasgutu Xóodzi Shkalneegί (Hazy Island Books, 2010). Her essays have appeared in Studies in American Indian Literature and Huffington Post, and her poetry is featured at Totem Bight State Park as part of Alaska’s Poems in Place. She is the recipient of the HAIL (Honoring Alaska Indigenous Literature) Award (2007), Native America Calling Book of the Month Award (2006), and Alaska Native Writer Award, Anchorage Daily News Fiction (2002). Hayes received her BA from the University of Alaska, Southeast and her MFA from the University of Alaska, Anchorage.

Linda Hogan (Chickasaw), is an internationally recognized public speaker and writer of poetry, fiction, screenplay, and essays. Her books include Rounding the Human Corners, a Pulitzer nominee; People of the Whale; Mean Spirit, a winner of the Oklahoma Book Award, the Mountains and Plains Book Award, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Solar Storms, a finalist for the International Impact Award, and Power, also a finalist for the International Impact Award in Ireland. WW Norton has published her fiction. In poetry, The Book of Medicines was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her newest collection is Dark. Sweet.:New and Selected Poems (Coffee House Press). Her other poetry has received the Colorado Book Award, Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, an American Book Award, and a Lannan Fellowship. She has also received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, The Wordcraft Circle, and The Mountains and Plains Booksellers Association.

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.


Stephen Graham Jones has fifteen novels out, and six story collections. The most recent is After

the People Lights Have Gone Off (Dark House Press). Next is Mongrels (Morrow). Stephen’s been the recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Fiction and has won the Texas Institute of Letters Jesse Jones Award for Fiction, the Independent Publishers Award for Multicultural Fiction, the This is Horror Award, and he’s made Bloody Disgusting’s Top Ten Novels of the Year. Stephen was raised in West Texas. He lives in Boulder, Colorado now, with his wife and children.

Chip Livingston is the mixed-blood Creek author of Naming Ceremony (2014), a collection of short stories and creative nonfiction; and two collections of poetry, Crow-Blue, Crow-Black (2012) and Museum of False Starts (2010). His creative writing has appeared in such journals as Ploughshares, Cincinnati Review, Mississippi Review, Potomac Review, New American Writing, and on the Poetry Foundation website. Chip has received writing awards from Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas, Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers, and the AABB Foundation. He holds an MA in fiction from University of Colorado, an MFA in poetry from Brooklyn College, and a BS in journalism from University of Florida.

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 in its first edition by NorthShore Press Alaska and in its second edition by the University of Alaska Press. Her second book, Hyperboreal, was chosen as the winner of the 2012 AWP Donald Hall Prize in Poetry and the 2014 American Book Award and is available from the University of Pittsburgh Press. She has received both an individual artist award (2007) and an artist fellowship (2013) from the Rasmuson Foundation, a fellowship from the Alaska State Council on the Arts (2009), the Alaska Conservation Foundation’s Native Writers on the Environment award (2010), a Literature Fellowship from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (2012), a Creative Vision Award from United States Artists (2013) and an Alaska Literary Award (2014). She was the Indigenous Writer-in-Residence at the School for Advanced Research and artist/scholar-in-residence with the Polar Lab at the Anchorage Museum in 2014 and is faculty in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the Institute for American Indian Arts. A graduate of Harvard College and Columbia University’s School of the Arts, she lives in Anchorage, Alaska, with her husband and sons.

Derek Palacio holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the Ohio State University. His short story “Sugarcane” appeared in The O. Henry Prize Stories 2013, and his novella How to Shake the Other Man was published by Nouvella Books in the same year. His debut novel is forthcoming from Tim Duggan Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group. He is the co-director, with Claire Vaye Watkins, of the Mojave School, a free creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada. He lives and teaches in Ann Arbor, MI.

Ismet Prcic was born on March 9th 1977 in Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina and immigrated to the United States in 1996. He holds an MFA in Writing from the University of California in Irvine. 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 2014 at the Sundance Film Festival and which won the audience award in its category. Prcic lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and two annoying cats. In the service of the arts he writes, teaches and spies on his neighbors.


James Thomas Stevens (Akwesasne Mohawk) attended the Institute of American Indian Arts, Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, and Brown University’s graduate creative writing program. Stevens is the author of eight books of poetry, including, Combing the Snakes from His Hair, Mohawk/Samoa: Transmigrations, A Bridge Dead in the Water, The Mutual Life, Bulle/Chimere, and DisOrient, and has recently finished a new manuscript, Ohwistanó:ron Niwahsohkò:ten (The Golden Book). He is a 2000 Whiting Award recipient and is currently Chair of Creative Writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Elissa Washuta, a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, is the author of My Body Is a Book of Rules and Starvation Mode. Her work has appeared in Salon, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Weeklings, Filter Literary Journal, and Third Coast. She serves as adviser for the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Washington and nonfiction faculty for the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts.


Claire Vaye Watkins was raised in the Mojave Desert. A graduate of the University of Nevada Reno, Claire earned her MFA from the Ohio State University, where she was a Presidential Fellow. Her

stories and essays have appeared in Granta, One Story, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. A recipient of fellowships from the Sewanee and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences, Claire was also one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35.”  Her collection of short stories, Battleborn, won the Story Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, New York Public Library’s 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. Her novel, Gold Fame Citrus, is forthcoming from Riverhead Books in September. Louise Erdrich describes it as “Exhilarating, upsetting, delirious, bold, Gold Fame Citrus is a head rush of a novel and establishes Claire Vaye Watkins as an important new voice in American literature.” A Guggenheim Fellow, Claire is on the faculty of the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. She is also the co-director, with Derek Palacio, of the Mojave School, a free creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada.


Ken White is a co-writer and co-producer of the feature film “Winter in the Blood”, adapted from James Welch’s novel of the same name, and co-director and co-writer of the short film Universal VIP. His current projects include a screen adaptation of Debra Earling’s novel Perma Red, which he will direct, and Stolen, co-adapted with the book’s author Lucy R. Christopher. He has written or co-written ten feature scripts, including Blight and The Wereman, as well as adaptations of Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther and the medieval Irish epic The Tain Bo Cuailgne – The Cattle Raid of Cooley, as well as a new horror script, Orpheum, and a television pilot, LIT. His poetry has appeared in The Boston Review, The Tusculum Review, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, Versal, and Manor House Quarterly, Spork, and Poets.org among others. He is the author of one book of poems, Eidolon (Peel Press 2013).


Orlando White is the author of two books of poetry: Bone Light (Red Hen Press, 2009) and LETTERRS (Nightboat Books, 2015). He holds a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts and an MFA from Brown University. His poems have appeared in The Kenyon Review, Omnidawn Poetry Feature Blog, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics, American Indian Culture And Research Journal, Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics, and elsewhere. He is a recipient of a Truman Capote Creative Writing Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Residency, and a Bread Loaf John Ciardi Fellowship. He teaches at Diné College and in the low-residency MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts.


Jon Davis, Director of IAIA’s Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program, the producer of the event, had this to say about the festival:  “This summer we have a strong group of returning MFA faculty, new faculty members Pam Houston and Rachel Eliza Griffiths, and a great group of visiting writers, including Blackfeet novelist Stephen Graham Jones, known for his horror and science fiction; nonfiction author Ernestine Hayes of the Lingit Nation; groundbreaking nonfiction writer John D’Agata; and award-winning novelist, poet, playwright, and scholar, Ana Castillo.”


To schedule an interview with Mr. Davis, or any of the writers, please contact him at 505.424.2365, or jdavis@iaia.edu.


Support for these events is provided by the Lannan Foundation.



Sherwin Bitsui
Pam Houston
Rachel Eliza Griffiths
Stephen Graham Jones
Ernestine Hayes
John D’Agata
Ana Castillo