With the holiday season at its end, early January languor has set in. Or so it would seem.
Not far from the luxury real estate of Santa Fe, the Institute of American Indian Arts hasn’t let its event calendar enter hibernation. Instead, the IAIA’s annual Writers Festival – a week long event that will instantly capture the hearts of writers and readers alike – is underway through Saturday, Jan. 9.
“The festival features some of the nation’s most noted authors and poets.”
Featuring some of the nation’s most noted authors, along with the institute’s talented creative writers and faculty, the festival has been a cultural staple of Albuquerque since July 2013.
2016’s readings began on Saturday, with Ramona Ausubel revealing stories from her new collection. Claire Vaye Watkins, celebrated author of “Battleborn” – named one of the best books of 2012 – was on hand Sunday night. Writer-director Shane Book was present as well, screening his short films “Dust” and “Praise and Blame.”
This incredible range of talent was just the start of a great festival. Between now and Saturday, more renowned authors and poets will take the stage. Here is a short description:
Readings by Jon Davis, Joan Naviyuk Kane, Lidia Yuknavitch starting at 6 p.m.
Davis is an award-winning poet and author of three poetry collections: “Preliminary Report,” “Scrimmage of Appetite,” and “Dangerous Amusements.” Kane is Inupiaq and the poet behind 2009’s lauded “The Comorant Hunter’s Wife,” as well as 2012’s “Hyperboreal.” Yuknavitch, a bestselling novelist, wrote “The Small Backs of Children” and the memoir “The Chronology of Water.”
Fiction craft talk with Ismet Prcic, nonfiction craft talk with Melissa Febos.
Born in Bosnia-Herzegovina and debuting to critical acclaim in 2011 with his novel “Shards,” Prcic will lead a talk called “Writing is an Art, and Art is a Four-Letter Word” at 2 p.m.. At 3:30 p.m., Febos, memoirist and author of the forthcoming collection “Abandon Me,” will lead “The Very Short Essay: Going Deep in Few Words,” a discussion on non-fiction writing.
Readings by Marie-Helene Bertino, Sherwin Bitsui, Melissa Febos starting at 6 p.m.
Chosen as a Barnes & Noble Fall ’14 Discover Great New Writers pick, Bertino is the author of 2012’s short story collection “Safe as Houses,” winner of the prestigious Puschart Prize. Butsui, originally from a Navajo reservation in Arizona, is the well-respected writer of “Shapeshift” and “Flood Song.”
Readings by Cynthia Cruz, David Treuer, Elissa Washuta starting at 6 p.m.
Cruz is the author of four short story collections, including one, “How the End Begins,” which is due out this spring. Ojibwe from Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota, Treuer is a Guggenheim recipient and author of four novels, including “Prudence.” A member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, Washuta is the author of “My Body Is a Book of Rules.”
Readings by Joy Harjo, Natalie Diaz, Pam Houston starting at 6 p.m.
A previous visitor to the residency and a Myskoke poet, Harjo is a formidable and distinguished talent. Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village, and her first poetry collection, “When My Brother Was an Aztec,” is based on her experiences. Houston has been featured in the “Best American Short Stories of the Century,” and is the author of “Contents May Have Shifted.”
A full schedule of readings, panels and other events is available here.