MFACW Evening Reading Series
Join the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) from Monday, January 9 through Friday, January 13, 2023, as the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (MFACW) program presents an Evening Reading Series featuring program mentors and Lannan Visiting Writers. Each evening will engage its audience with poetry, memoir, or fiction from some of today’s most vibrant and vital writers. Check the below schedule and presenter bios for additional details.
Evening Reading Series Events
- January 9, 6 pm–7:15 pm (MST): Screening of Reservation Dogs with Migizi Pensoneau (Ponca and Ojibwe)—CLE Commons
- January 10, 6 pm–7:15 pm (MST): Readings by Pam Houston, Esther Belin (Diné), and Keenan Norris—CLE Commons and livestream
- January 11, 6 pm–7:15 pm (MST): Readings by Bojan Louis (Diné), Toni Jensen (Métis), and Kimberly Blaeser (Minnesota Chippewa Tribe)—CLE Commons and livestream
- January 13, 6 pm–7:15 pm (MST): Readings by Kelli Jo Ford (Cherokee Nation), Layli Long Soldier (Oglala Lakota), and Raquel Gutiérrez—CLE Commons and livestream
Tanya Lukin Linklater (Native Villages of Afognak and Port Lions, Alaska) is an interdisciplinary artist whose work engages installation, performance, art writing, printmaking, film, photography, and choreography. She is a mentor in the MFASA program. Linklater has received many awards, including the Art Writing Award from the Ontario Association of Art Galleries, the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts for Visual Art, and an artist residency award at The Wexner Center for the Arts.
Layli Long Soldier (Oglala Lakota) is a poet, IAIA alum, and mentor in the MFACW program. She is the author of the poetry collections Chromosomory and WHEREAS. Her work has appeared in POETRY Magazine, The New York Times, The American Poet, The American Reader, The Kenyon Review, and BOMB. She has received many awards, including the NACF National Artist Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, the 2018 National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Michael Murphy Memorial Poetry Prize in the UK.
Migizi Pensoneau (Ponca and Ojibwe) is a screenwriter, producer, actor, and IAIA alum. He played Ray Ray in three episodes of Reservation Dogs, Roy Crooks in three episodes of Rutherford Falls, and was a writer for episodes of Barkskins and Two Sentence Horror Stories. Pensoneau has also covered scripts for Warner Brothers and The Sundance Institute, and he has written several published pieces on the interaction of Native Americans and popular culture.
Pam Houston is a novelist, essayist, short story writer, and mentor in the MFACW program. She is the author of the memoir Deep Creek: Finding Hope in The High Country. Her short stories and essays have been selected for volumes of The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize, Best American Travel Writing, and The Best American Short Stories of the Century, among other anthologies. She is the winner of the Western States Book Award, the WILLA Award for contemporary fiction, the Evil Companions Literary Award, and several teaching awards.
Esther Belin (Diné) is a writer, multimedia artist, IAIA alum, and mentor in the MFACW program. Her writing is widely anthologized, and her poetry examines identity politics, checkerboard land status, and the interplay of words (abstraction) and image (realism). In 2000, she was awarded an American Book Award for her first book of poetry, From the Belly of My Beauty. Her most recent poetry collection is Of Cartography: Poems.
Keenan Norris is a novelist, essayist, educator, and Lannan Visiting Writer at IAIA. His latest novel, The Confession of Copeland Cane, won the 2022 Northern California Book Award. Norris received a 2021 Folio: Eddie Award and was a finalist for National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards in 2021 and 2022. His editorials and feature essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, San Francisco Chronicle, and Alta.
Bojan Louis (Diné) is a poet, essayist, short story writer, and mentor in the MFACW program. He is the author of the short-story collection Sinking Bell, the poetry collection Currents, and the nonfiction chapbook Troubleshooting Silence in Arizona. His work can be found in Shapes of Native Nonfiction: Collected Essays by Contemporary Writers; When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry; and The Diné Reader: An Anthology of Navajo Literature. Louis has received a MacDowell Fellowship and a 2018 American Book Award.
Toni Jensen (Métis) is an essayist, short story writer, and mentor in the MFACW program. She is the author of the short story collection From the Hilltop and Carry, a memoir-in-essays about gun violence. Jensen is the recipient of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction and the Gary Wilson Short Fiction Award. Her essays and stories have been published in journals such as Orion, Catapult, and Ecotone.
Safia Elhillo is a Sudanese (by way of D.C.) poet, author, and Lannan Visiting Writer at IAIA. She is the author of Girls That Never Die, The January Children, and Home Is Not a Country, and co-editor of the anthology Halal If You Hear Me. El-Hillo is the winner of many awards, including the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, the Arab American Book Award, and a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University.
Kelli Jo Ford (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma) is a novelist, short story writer, and mentor in the MFACW program. She is the author of the novel-in-stories Crooked Hallelujah. Her work has been published in The Paris Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, McSweeney’s Quarterly, and The Missouri Review. She has received many awards, including an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship, The Paris Review’s Plimpton Prize, and a Native Arts & Cultures Foundation National Artist Fellowship.
Raquel Gutiérrez is an arts writer, critic, poet, educator, and Lannan Visiting Writer at IAIA. Their first book of prose Brown Neon considers what it means to be a Latinx artist during the Trump era. Their criticism has been published in Art in America, NPR Music, Places Journal, and Hyperallergic. In 2021 they received the Rabkin Prize in Arts Journalism, and in 2017 they received an Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant.
MFA in Creative Writing
The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is designed as a two-year program with two intensive week-long residencies per year (summer and winter) at IAIA. Students and faculty mentors gather for a week of workshops, lectures, and readings. At the end of the residency week, each student is matched with a faculty mentor, who then works one-on-one with the student for the semester. IAIA’s program is unique in that we emphasize the importance of Indigenous writers speaking to the Indigenous experience. The literature we read carries a distinct Native American and First Nations emphasis. The MAFCW offers four areas of emphasis: poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and screenwriting.
The deadline to apply for the 2023 academic year is Feb. 1 by 5 pm (MST).