Keynote and Featured Authors’ Bios


Featured authors for the 2013 conference include Pam Houston, Kwame Dawes, Leanne Howe, Joy Castro, Patrick Hicks, and USD faculty authors Fred Arroyo, Natanya Pulley, and Lee Ann Roripaugh.

Fred Arroyo is the author of Western Avenue and Other Fictions (University of Arizona Press, 2012), as well as the novel The Region of Lost Names (University of Arizona Press, 2008). Named one of the Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch (and Read) in 2009 by, Fred is a recipient of an Individual Artist Grant from the Indiana Arts Commission. He has published fiction, poetry, and essays in various literary journals and the anthologies The Colors of Nature (Milkweed 2011) and Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing (University of Arizona 2010). Currently, he is completing a book of essays, Close as Pages in a Book, in which he lyrically meditates on work, reading and writing, migration and place—sources of creativity arising from his life and work in the Midwest, growing up bilingual on the east coast, and then being caught between urban and rural worlds. He is also working on a novel set primarily in the Caribbean. Arroyo lives in Vermillion, South Dakota, where he teaches fiction and creative nonfiction in the MA/PhD Program in Creative Writing, as well in the undergraduate program, at the University of South Dakota.

Born in Miami, Joy Castro is the author of The Truth Book: A Memoir (University of Nebraska), the literary thriller Hell or High Water (St. Martin’s), and the essay collection Island of Bones (University of Nebraska). Her work has appeared in anthologies and in journals including Seneca Review, Fourth Genre, North American Review, Brevity, Afro-Hispanic Review, and The New York Times Magazine. She teaches creative writing, literature, and Latino studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she also serves as the associate director of the Institute for Ethnic Studies. She was a founding faculty member of the Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College in Boston, where she taught for three years, and has led classes and workshops at the Macondo Writers’ Workshop, the Nebraska Summer Writers Conference, and the University of Iowa MFA in Nonfiction Program. Her novel Nearer Home, a sequel to Hell or High Water, is forthcoming in 2013 (St. Martin’s), as is a collection she edited, Family Trouble: Memoirists on the Hazards and Rewards of Revealing Family (University of Nebraska), which includes essays from twenty-five well known memoirists such as Robin Hemley, Sue William Silverman, Judith Ortiz Cofer, and Dinty W. Moore. Castro lives with her husband in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Ghanaian-born Jamaican poet Kwame Dawes is the award-winning author of numerous books of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, criticism, and drama. Of his sixteen volumes of poetry, recent titles include Duppy Conqueror (Copper Canyon, 2013); Wheels (2011); Back of Mount Peace (2009); Hope’s Hospice (2009); Wisteria, finalist for the Patterson Memorial Prize; Impossible Flying (2007); and Gomer’s Song (2007). His book, Midland, was awarded the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize by the Ohio University Press (2001). Dawes was a winner of a Pushcart Prize for the best American poetry of 2001 for his long poem, “Inheritance.” He has published two novels: Bivouac (2009) and She’s Gone (2007), winner of the 2008 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Best First Novel. In 2007 he released A Far Cry From Plymouth Rock: A Personal Narrative. His essays have appeared in numerous journals including Bomb Magazine, The London Review of Books, Granta, Essence, World Literature Today, and Double Take Magazine. Dawes is currently the Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska, where he is a Chancellor’s Professor of English, a faculty member of Cave Canem, and a teacher in the Pacific MFA Program in Oregon.

Patrick Hicks is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Finding the Gossamer and This London. He is also the editor of A Harvest of Words, which was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. His work has appeared in some of the most vital literary journals in America, including Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, The Missouri Review, Tar River Poetry, New Ohio Review, Natural Bridge, and many others. He has been nominated seven times for the Pushcart Prize, he was recently a finalist for the High Plains Book Award, the Dzanc Short Story Collection Competition, and the Gival Press Novel Award. He has won the Glimmer Train Fiction Award, been a notable mention in Best American Stories, and he is the recipient of a number of grants, including one from the Bush Artist Foundation. His first novel, The Commandant of Lubizec, will be published by Steerforth Press in 2014 and be distributed by Random House. A former Visiting Fellow at Oxford, he is the Writer-in-Residence at Augustana College.

Pam Houston is the author of two collections of linked short stories, Cowboys Are My Weakness and Waltzing the Cat; the novels, Sight Hound and Contents May Have Shifted; and a collection of essays called 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 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, and The Evil Companions Literary Award and multiple teaching awards. Houston is the Director of Creative Writing at U.C. Davis 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.

LeAnne Howe writes fiction, poetry, screenplays, scholarship, and plays that deal with Native experiences. An enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, her first novel Shell Shaker, Aunt Lute Books, received an American Book Award in 2002 from the Before Columbus Foundation. The French translation, Equinoxes Rouge, was the 2004 finalist for Prix Medici Estranger, one of France’s top literary awards. Evidence of Red, Salt Publishing, UK, won the Oklahoma Book Award for poetry in 2006. Howe’s second novel, Miko Kings: An Indian Baseball Story, Aunt Lute Books, was chosen by Hampton University in Virginia as their 2009-2010 Read-in Selection. She has two new books out in 2013: Seeing Red, Pixeled Skins: American Indians and Film, from MSUP Press, co-authored with Harvey Markowitz and Denise Cummings, and Choctalking on Other Realities, New and Selected Stories from Aunt Lute Books. Selected awards include the 2012 USA Artist Ford Fellowship, a $50,000 grant from United States Artists, a not-for-profit organization, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas. Howe makes her homes in Ada, Oklahoma, and Urbana, Illinois, and she is a Professor in both the MFA program and American Indian Studies.

Natanya Ann Pulley is half-Navajo born to Kiiyaa’aanii (Towering House Clan). Her maternal grandfather is Tachiinii (Red Running Into Water Clan). Natanya has a PhD in Fiction Writing from the University of Utah and is an Assistant Professor at the University of South Dakota. Areas of interest include: Disability Studies and Horror Theory as well as Experimental Literature, Native American Literature, and Graphic Novels. She is co-editor of the forthcoming anthology Good Medicine: A Collection of Native American Humor. She is the winner of the 2009 Utah Writer’s Contest for her story “With Teeth,” which judge Kate Bernheimer calls “a sort of reading sublime: as unsettling as it is shiny.” A writer of primarily fiction and non-fiction with outbreaks in poetry, Pulley’s publications include Western Humanities Review, The Florida Review, Drunken Boat, and McSweeney’s Open Letters Column (among others). Links to publications can be found on her site: Her poetry is included in the anthology Women Write Resistance (Blue Light Press 2013) and her story “The Last Supper” appears in the Last Night On Earth anthology (SSWA Press 2012).

Lee Ann Roripaugh is the author of three volumes of poetry: On the Cusp of a Dangerous Year (Southern Illinois University Press, 2009), Year of the Snake (Southern Illinois University Press, 2004; winner of the Association of Asian American Studies Book Award in Poetry/Prose for 2004) and Beyond Heart Mountain (Penguin Books, 1999; 1998 winner of the National Poetry Series, and finalist for the 2000 Asian American Literary Awards). A collection of prose poems, Dandarians, is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions in 2014. The recipient of a 2003 Archibald Bush Foundation Individual Artist Fellowship, she was also named the 2004 winner of the Prairie Schooner Strousse Award, the 2001 winner of the Frederick Manfred Award for Best Creative Writing awarded by the Western Literature Association, and the 1995 winner of the Randall Jarrell International Poetry Prize. Her poetry, short stories, and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. Roripaugh is currently a Professor of English at the University of South Dakota, where she serves as Director of Creative Writing and Editor-in-Chief of South Dakota Review.


One Response to Keynote and Featured Authors’ Bios

  1. Pingback: Precipitate « In a Not So Unlikely Place: A Commitment to Home and Story in the American Middle

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