A Chickasaw novelist, essayist, and environmentalist, Linda Hogan was born in Denver, Colorado. She earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and an MA in English and creative writing from the University of Colorado-Boulder.
Hogan is the author of the poetry collections Calling Myself Home (1978); Daughters, I Love You (1981); Eclipse (1983); Seeing Through the Sun (1985), which won the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation; Savings (1988), The Book of Medicines, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist (1993); and Rounding the Human Corners (2008). Intimately connected to her political and spiritual concerns, Hogan’s poetry deals with issues such as the environment and eco-feminism, the relocation of Native Americans, and historical narratives, including oral histories. William Kittredge, in his introduction to Hogan’s Rounding the Human Corners, noted, “poets like Linda, through their language, open for us a doorway into their specific resonating dream of the electric universe.”
Hogan’s collections of prose also reflect her interests in the environment and Native American culture. Her books include the essay collection Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World (1995), The Woman Who Watches Over the World: A Native Memoir (2001), and, with Brenda Peterson, Sighting: The Gray Whales’ Mysterious Journey (2002). Together with Brenda Peterson, she also edited the anthology The Sweet Breathing of Plants: Women and the Green World (2001). A recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation for her fiction, Hogan’s novels include Mean Spirit (1990), Solar Storms (1995), Power (1998), and People of the Whale: A Novel (2008).
Active as an educator and speaker, Hogan taught at the University of Colorado and at the Indigenous Education Institute. She has been a speaker at the United Nations Forum and was a plenary speaker at the Environmental Literature Conference in Turkey in 2009.
Hogan’s awards include a Lannan Literary Award, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Spirit of the West Literary Achievement Award, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas.
Jamie Ford, born James Ford, is an American author who gained notoriety with his debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. His first novel is a love story about two twelve year old friends, a Chinese boy and a Japanese girl, which delves into the ethnic tensions of the time and Japanese internment.
Ford is ethnically half Chinese, and his work so far focuses on the Chinese-American experience. Ford’s great-grandfather immigrated from Kaiping, China in 1865. His name was Min Chung, but he changed it to William Ford when he was working in Tonopah, Nevada. Ford’s grandfather, George William Ford, changed his name back to George Chung in order to gain more success as an ethnic actor in Hollywood.
In Ford’s second novel Songs of Willow Frost, he explores Asians in Hollywood in the early twentieth century; around the time his grandfather was pursuing acting.
Nina McConigley is the author of the story collection Cowboys and East Indians, which won the 2014 PEN Open Book Award and a High Plains Book Award. She was born in Singapore and grew up in Wyoming. She holds an MFA from the University of Houston and an MA from the University of Wyoming. She was named by Glamour Magazine as one of ‘50 Phenomenal Women Making a Difference’ in 2014, and her book was named one of 2014’s Best Prize Winning books by O, Oprah Magazine. She has been a fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and held scholarships to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and for The Best New American Voices. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Orion, Salon, Virginia Quarterly Review, American Short Fiction, and The Asian American Literary Review among others. She lives in Laramie, Wyoming and teaches at the University of Wyoming and at the MFA program at the Warren Wilson Program for Writers.
Craig Lesley, former Senior Writer-in-Residence at Portland State University, now teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Pacific University. He is the author of four novels: Winterkill, River Song, The Sky Fisherman, and Storm Riders, and the memoir Burning Fence. He and his wife Katheryn Stavrakis edited Talking Leaves: Contemporary Native American Short Stories, as well as Dreamers and Desperadoes: Contemporary Short Fiction of the American West. His work has received three awards from the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, The Golden Spur Best Novel Award from the Western Writers of America and Best Novel from the Oregon Book Awards. His short fiction has been published in The Southern Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Northwest Review, The Seattle Review, and many other journals.
Lesley received a Bread Loaf Fellowship, as well as two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, to study Native American Literature. He was also awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
He received his BA from Whitman College, his MA from the University of Kansas and his MFA from the University of Massachusetts. He was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Whitman College.
In addition to his current position, Lesley has taught and directed writers’ series at Whitman College and Willamette University, where he served as Hallie Ford Chair in English for three years. He has won two Distinguished Writer of the Year awards from Willamette Writers for his help with promoting and encouraging emerging writers.
Keynote Speaker: Walter Kirn
Walter Kirn is a novelist, essayist and literary critic best known for his novel Up in the Air. Other books include Blood Will Out, Thumbsucker, Mission to America and Lost in the Meritocracy: The Undereducation of an Overachiever. His reviews and essays have appeared in New York Times Book Review, Time, The Atlantic and numerous other publications. Thumbsucker and Up in the Air have been made into feature films, the latter receiving a Golden Globe award for best screenplay and six Oscar nominations.
Elwood Reid is the author of the short story collection What Salmon Know and the novels D.B., Midnight Sun and If I Don’t Six. He works as a producer and writer for several television series and movies including The Bridge, Cold Case, Close to Home and Company Town.
William Pitt Root
William Pitt Root is a poet whose most recent collections are Strange Angels: New Poems and Sublime Blue: Early Odes of Pablo Neruda. Previous works include White Books: New & Selected Poems of the West, Faultdancing, Trace Elements from a Recurring Kingdom, Invisible Guests, Reasons for Going It on Foot, In the World’s Common Grasses, Striking the Dark Air for Music, Fireclock, and The Storm and Other Poems. Root’s work has appeared in more than 100 anthologies and 300 literary magazines. He has received grants from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, National Endowment for the Arts, a Stegner Writing Fellowship at Stanford, the US/UK Exchange Artist Fellowship for a year in London and Cornwall, three Pushcart Prizes, the Stanley Kunitz Poetry Prize, and Editor’s Choice/Allen Ginsberg Award.
Pamela Uschuk is a widely-published, award-winning poet whose books include Finding Peaches in the Desert, One Legged Dancer, Scattered Risks, Without the Comfort of Stars: New and Selected Poems, Crazy Love, and Wild in the Plaza of Memory. Her latest collection, Blood Flower, was listed by Booklist as one of the top poetry books of 2015. Her literary prizes include the 2011 War Poetry Prize from Willing Writers, the 2010 New Millenium Poetry Prize, 2010 Best of the Web, the Struga Poetry Prize (for a single poem), the Dorothy Daniels Writing Award from the National League of American PEN Women, the 2001 Literature Award from the Tucson/Pima Arts Council, The King’s English Prize as well as awards from the Chester H. Jones Foundation, Iris, Ascent, Sandhills Review, and Amnesty International. Nearly 30 of her individual poems have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes. She’s the editor-in-chief of the internationally-recognized literary magazine, CutThroat: A Journal of the Arts.