Palm Desert Low Residency MFA Professor Honored by Library of Congress

Stephen Graham Jones is one of three novelists invited to participate in the “Spotlight on Native Writers”

stephen graham jones

Stephen Graham Jones will be honored by the Library of Congress on May 10.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Stephen Graham Jones, an award-winning novelist and a core faculty member of the UC Riverside Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts, will be featured in a program highlighting the work of Native American authors at the Library of Congress on May 10.

Jones is one of three novelists who will participate in the “Spotlight on Native Writers” reading and discussion presented by the Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center. The event precedes the launch of “La Rose,” the 15th novel by best-selling author Louise Erdrich, who is the recipient of the 2015 Library of Congress Prize in American Fiction.

Jones, a Blackfeet who grew up in West Texas, will read from his newest novel, “Mongrels,” which will officially launch at the Library of Congress event. While “Mongrels” is about a family of werewolves traveling from town to town in the Southeast, the story really is about family and about a child coming of age, he said.

Meeting Louise Erdrich – “my hero” – will be the highlight of the trip to Washington, D.C., he said, adding that the celebration of Native American authors by the Library of Congress is significant.

“American Indian literature needs to be seen in the market and the world as good,” he explained. While many people view Native American fiction as a window into diverse cultures, “Louise Erdrich shows it’s good fiction. It’s not ever just about a culture or a people. It’s good storytelling.”

There is no single American Indian experience, he added. “I didn’t grow up traditionally. I didn’t grow up on a reservation. My culture was MTV.”

Jones, a professor of English at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has taught at UCR Palm Desert for four years. He is the author of 16 novels and six story collections. Among his novels are: “The Fast Red Road,” “The Bird is Gone,” “Demon Theory,” “Zombie Bake-Off” and “Growing Up Dead in Texas.”

He has been the recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Fiction, the Texas Institute of Letters Jesse Jones Award for Fiction, the Independent Publishers Awards for Multicultural Fiction, three This is Horror awards, and he has been included in the Bloody Disgusting’s Top Ten Novels of the Year. He also has been a finalist for the Colorado Book Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and the Shirley Jackson Award.

In addition to Jones, the “Spotlight on Native Writers” will feature Eric Gansworth, an enrolled member of the Onondaga Nation and author of “Extra Indians,” winner of the American Book Award, and “Mending Skins,” winner of the PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Award; and Linda LeGarde Grover, a member of the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe and the author of “The Dance Boots,” winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award and the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, and “The Road Back to Sweetgrass,” winner of the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers & Storytellers 2015 Fiction Award. Moderating the discussion will be Deborah Miranda, an enrolled member of the Ohlone-Costanoan Esselen Nation of California and the author of “Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir,” winner of the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award.

The Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress works to foster and enhance the public’s appreciation of literature. The center administers the endowed poetry chair (the U.S. Poet Laureate) and coordinates an annual literary season of poetry, fiction and drama readings, performances, lectures and symposia, sponsored by the Library’s Gertrude Clarke Whittall Poetry and Literature Fund and the Huntington Fund.

The Library of Congress, the largest library in the world, holds more than 162 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its website.

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