Celebrating Native American Heritage Month: An Interview with the Indigenous-Aboriginal American Writers Caucus

AWP | November 2018

In continuation of our celebration of Native American Heritage Month, AWP invited members of the Indigenous-Aboriginal American Writers Caucus to respond to a few questions about the upcoming conference in Portland and about established and emerging Indigenous voices.


What follows is a brief interview with contributions from caucus leaders, compiled by Shauna Osborn.

What conference events would the caucus like to highlight at #AWP19?

We’re proud of all the panels, readings, and events our caucus members have offered for the #AWP19 programming. As such, we’ve listed the events titles accepted from our caucus members on the front page of the IAAWC website. We would especially like to highlight some of the Indigenous featured presenters this year including Natalie Diaz, Jennifer Foerster, Debra Magpie Earling, Terese Marie Mailhot, Naomi Ortiz, and Eden Robinson. Next, we would point out a few events, in particular, that are focused on indigenous writers and literature—From Here and Far Out: A Conversation about Indigenous Speculative Fiction, Indigenous Fiction: Intersections in the United States & Canada, Indigenous Poetics: A Reading by Emerging Poets from the IAIA MFA Program, Native American Voices: A Reading from Recent Works in Native Letters, and New Poets of Native Nations.

Who are some of the great, established Indigenous or Native American writers we should all have on our reading lists?

We have many great, established writers who are not well known among the general reading public, such as Gerald Vizenor, Leanne Howe, Jim Barnes, Luci Tapahonso, Diane Glancy, Joseph Bruchac, as well as the ones people are more familiar with such as Joy Harjo, Linda Hogan, and Louise Erdrich. We also have a plethora of stellar, award-winning mid-career writers whose names may not be familiar to the general reading public, such as Allison Hedge Coke, Heid Erdrich, Sherwin Bitsui, Kimberly Blaeser, Layli Long Soldier, Janet McAdams, Kim Shuck, and Craig Santos Perez. And we have a positive flood of gifted, early-career writers. Readers who would like to experience the breadth and variety of Indigenous writers should visit the Caucus’s website, where we have collected bibliographies of published books classified by genre. 

Who are some newer voices in the community we should be reading?

There are numerous, wonderful writers that could fit in this category including Elissa Washuta, Bojan Louis, Tanaya Winder, Deborah Miranda, Trevino Brings Plenty, Tiffany Midge, Stephen Graham Jones, Tommy Orange, Erika Wurth, Eric Gansworth, Linda LeGarde Grover, Brandon Hobson, and Laura Da’.

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