Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Native Writers' Circle of the Americas Lifetime Achievement Award

LeAnne Howe, who is a faculty member in our Creative Writing program as well as in American Indian Studies, has been named as the winner of this year's Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas.  

This is quite an honor, especially since the list of previous winners includes luminaries like N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko, Joy Harjo, Sherman Alexie, and Louise Erdich (for more, go here).

I've pasted in the NWCA press release:

LeAnne Howe (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma), author of fiction, poetry, screenplays, creative non-fiction, plays, and scholarly articles, is the winner of the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas. A well respected and honored author, LeAnne Howe’s books include Shell Shaker (2001), winner of an American Book Award in 2002 from the Before Columbus Foundation; Equinoxes Rouge, the French translation of Shell Shaker, a 2004 finalist for Prix Medici Estranger, (one of France’s top literary awards); Evidence of Red (2005), winner of an Oklahoma Book Award in Poetry and Wordcraft Circle Award in 2006; and Howe’s most recent novel, the acclaimed Miko Kings: An Indian Baseball Story (2007). Howe was screenwriter and on-camera narrator for the 90-minute PBS documentary Indian Country Diaries: Spiral of Fire (2006); she was also writer/co-producer of Playing Pastime: American Indian Fast-Pitch Softball and Survival, both documentaries with James Fortier (a three-time Emmy award winner filmmaker). Her scholarly work has appeared in Clearing a Path: Theorizing a Past in Native American Studies (2001), Pre-removal Choctaw History: Exploring New Paths (2008) and Reasoning Together: Native Critics Collective (2008), for which Howe is listed as a co-author. Reasoning Together was named one of the most influential Native texts of the 21st century. Additionally, Howe’s multi-genre autobiographical and scholarly prose essay, “My Mothers, My Uncles, Myself” appears in Here First: Autobiographical Essays by Native American Writers (2001).

Born in Edmond, raised in Oklahoma City, maintaining a home in Ada, Howe’s roots run deep into the red dirt of Okla Humma. As she writes, “I am part Cherokee, …although I am wholly Choctaw,”[1] Howe’s work speaks to the larger Choctawan experience and interaction with not only Indian country and the U.S., but also with the world. Howe has traveled extensively to such places as Japan, Jordan, Israel, Romania, and Spain. These experiences act as both research for her work and experiences by which she negotiates the ways in which Indigenous people broadly and Choctaws specifically maneuver, negotiate, and impact the world around them. Howe has been honored to serve as writer/artist and/or lecture in residence at several universities throughout the United States as well as in Amman, Jordan. She is currently Professor of English and American Indian Studies at University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne. LeAnne is working on her third novel, Memoir of a Choctaw Indian in the Arab Revolt, 1917. She is a daughter, mother, grandmother, culture bearer, and educator of the next generation. A ceremony honoring LeAnne Howe will take place during the Returning the Gift Native Writers gathering at the Menominee Reservation in Wisconsin later in the year.  

[1] Howe, LeAnne. "My Mothers, My Uncles, Myself." Ed. Arnold Krupat and Brian Swann.Here First: Autobiographical Essays by Native American Writers. New York: Modern Library, 2000. 212-28. (215).


Congratulations, LeAnne, on this amazing honor!

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