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Reprinted from the Tulsa City-County Library website (

Library to Honor Oklahoma Author, Poet and Playwright Leanne Howe

LeAnne Howe, an enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, will receive the Tulsa Library Trust's "American Indian Author Award" March 5, 10:30 a.m., at Central Library, Fourth Street and Denver Avenue.

Howe writes fiction, poetry, screenplays, and plays dealing with American Indian experiences. Her works have been translated in France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark. Currently, Howe is Professor of American Indian Studies and English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Her first novel, Shell Shaker [Aunt Lute Books, 2001], received the American Book Award in 2002. The story is a parallel tale of a family in the mid-18th century and the familiar traps their ancestors face in 1991. The French translation for Shell Shaker was a finalist for Prix Medici Estranger, one of France's top literary awards.

Howe's second novel, Miko Kings: An Indian Baseball Story [Aunt Lute Books, 2007], was chosen by Hampton University in Virginia as their 2010 "Read-in" selection. Chapter three of Miko Kings is set at Hampton University and also documents the ethical challenges [of citizenship and belonging] throughout Indian Territory in 1906.

Evidence of Red [Salt Publishing, UK, 2005], an introspective look at American Indian persistence and struggle, received the Oklahoma Book Award for poetry in 2006. [End Page 98]

Howe also is active in American Indian film productions, serving as co-producer along with Jim Fortier [on] Playing Pastime, a 30-minute documentary of Indian Baseball Leagues in Oklahoma; and screenwriter and on-camera narrator of the PBS documentary Indian Country Diaries: Spiral of Fire, a 90-minute documentary on the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians which aired nationally in 2006.

Founder and director of WagonBurner Theatre Troop, her plays have been produced in Los Angeles, New York City, New Mexico, Maine, Texas, and Colorado. Her one-act play, The Mascot Opera, A Minuet, was part of a production at Mixed Blood Theater in Minneapolis.

In 2003, she was the Louis D. Rubins Jr. Writer-in-Residence at Hollins University, VA. She has received an Artist-in-Residence grant for theater from the Iowa Arts Council. In 2004, she was the Regents Distinguished Lecturer at University of California, Riverside. She was the John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi at Oxford, MS, in 2006-2007.

"LeAnne is the perfect example of a successful Oklahoma author who connects the traditional ways and thoughts with scenes in the 21st century," said Teresa Runnels, American Indian Resource Center coordinator. "Through complex characters and moving imagery, she explains how we are all connected within the natural cycles of life. She is the perfect example of what the American Indian Author Award represents."

Inaugurated in 2001, the American Indian Author Award recognizes literary contributions of outstanding American Indian authors. It is the first and only award given by a public library to honor an American Indian author. The award is given in odd-numbered years, alternating with the "Circle of Honor" award. Recipients receive a $5,000 cash prize and medallion. Past award-winners include Joy Harjo, Vine Deloria Jr., Leslie Marmon Silko, and Carter Revard.

Following Howe's presentation, the American Indian Festival of Words will feature dancers, storytellers, and crafts programs for families from 11:30–2:30 pm. Each March, Tulsa City-County Library's American Indian Resource Center hosts family programs to share the voices and visions of our county's Native sons and daughters. [End Page 99]

"Oklahoma is my home and where I grew up, so this award means more to me than anyone will ever know," said Howe. "So much so, that I'm flying home to Oklahoma from Amman, Jordan, where I'm currently a William J. Fulbright scholar." Howe went to Jordan to research her newest novel and to teach American Indian Studies at the University of Jordan.

TCCL's American Indian Resource Center, located at Central Library, provides educational and informational resources, activities, and services honoring American Indian heritage, arts, and achievements. The center provides access...


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