2019 Authors and Artists
Heid E. Erdrich
Heid E. Erdrich is the author of five collections of poetry including Curator of Ephemera at the New Museum for Archaic Media new in 2017. Heid’s nonfiction work, Original Local: Indigenous Foods, Stories and Recipes from the Upper Midwest, earned a City Pages Best Food Book of 2014 designation. Her writing has won awards from the Minnesota State Arts Board, Bush Foundation, The Loft Literary Center, and First People’s Fund. Her book National Monuments won the 2009 Minnesota Book Award. In 2013 she was named a City Pages Artists of the Year. Heid’s poem films have been screened widely at festivals and have won Best of Fest and a Best Experimental Short awards. She is an independent scholar and curator, a playwright, and founding publisher of Wiigwaas Press an Ojibwe language publisher. She teaches the MFA Creative Writing program of Augsburg College. Heid grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota and is Ojibwe enrolled at Turtle Mountain.
Kiese Laymon is a black southern writer, born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. Laymon attended Millsaps College and Jackson State University before graduating from Oberlin College. He earned an MFA in Fiction from Indiana University. Laymon is currently the Ottilie Schillig Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi. He served as the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Nonfiction at the University of Iowa in Fall 2017. Laymon is the author of the novel, Long Division and a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, the UK edition released in 2016.
Laymon has written essays, stories and reviews for numerous publications including Esquire, McSweeneys, New York Times, ESPN the Magazine, Colorlines, NPR, LitHub, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, PEN Journal, Fader, Oxford American, The Best American Series, Ebony, Travel and Leisure, Paris Review and Guernica. Heavy a memoir, was released in October 2018, has been named a Best Book of 2018 by Publisher's Weekly and is currently shortlisted for a Carnegie Medal. He has novel forthcoming, And So On, in 2019, from Scribner.
Sally Wen Mao
Sally Wen Mao is the author of Mad Honey Symposium (Alice James Books, 2014), the winner of the 2012 Kinereth Gensler Award, a Poets & Writers Top Ten Debut of 2014, and a Publishers Weekly Top Ten Anticipated Pick of Fall 2014. Her second book, Oculus , is forthcoming from Graywolf Press on January 15th, 2019. Her work has won a 2017 Pushcart Prize and a 2016 Amy Award from Poets & Writers. Her poems are anthologized in The Best of the Net 2014 and The Best American Poetry 2013. Recent poems are published or forthcoming in A Public Space, Poetry, Black Warrior Review, Guernica, The Missouri Review , and Tin House, among other journals. Her fiction can be found in PEN America and Hyphen Magazine, and her essays are published or forthcoming in Rookie On Love, LENNY, and other spaces. The recipient of fellowships and scholarships from Kundiman, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Jerome Foundation, Hedgebrook, Vermont Studio Center, and Saltonstall Foundation.
Mao holds an M.F.A. from Cornell University. She was the 2015-2016 Singapore Creative Writing Residency Writer-in-Residence, a 2016-2017 Cullman Center Fellow at the New York Public Library, and the 2017-2018 Jenny McKean Moore Writer-in-Washington at the George Washington University. Currently, she is a resident artist at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai, where she is working on new poetry and prose.
Born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley, Patrick Martinez’s L.A. suburban upbringing and his diverse cultural background (Filipino, Mexican and Native American), provided him with a unique lens through which he interprets his surroundings. Influenced by the Hip Hop movement, Martinez cultivated his art practice through graffiti, which later led him to the Art Center College of Design, where he earned a BFA with honors in 2005. Through his facility with a wide variety of media (painting, neon, ceramic and sculpture), Martinez colorfully scrutinizes otherwise everyday realities of suburban and urban life in L.A. with humor, sensitivity and wit.
Martinez earned his BFA with honors from Art Center College of Design in 2005. His work has been exhibited domestically and internationally in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Miami, New York and the Netherlands, and he has shown in venues including the Vincent Price Art Museum, Biola University, LA Louver, Showroom MAMA, Providence College Galleries, MACLA, SUR biennial, Chinese American Museum and Euphrat Museum of Art. He has been covered by the Los Angeles Times, KPCC, KCRW, Fusion, Art News, Opening Ceremony Art Blog and Wired. He has work in the collections of the Cornell Fine Art Museum, the Pizzuti Collection, and the Museum of Latin American Art. Patrick lives and works in Los Angeles.
To learn more about Patrick Martinez, visit the Charlie James Gallery website https://www.cjamesgallery.com/artist-detail/patrick-martinez or follow him on Instagram.
Tommy Orange is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel There There, a multi-generational, relentlessly paced story about a side of America few of us have ever seen: the lives of urban Native Americans. There There was just named to the National Book Awards Long List. Orange is a recent graduate from the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. He is a 2014 MacDowell Fellow, and a 2016 Writing by Writers Fellow. He is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. He was born and raised in Oakland, California, and currently lives in Angel’s Camp, California.
To learn more about Orange, follow him on Twitter.
Sarah Smarsh is an author, educator, speaker, and journalist who focuses on socioeconomic class and rural America. Her book Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth examines historic economic inequality and tells the story of her upbringing among the working poor on a Kansas farm. It was just named to the National Book Awards Long List.
By ninth grade, Sarah attended eight southern-Kansas schools, ranging from a 2,000-student high school to a two-room prairie schoolhouse. She holds an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia, as well as degrees in journalism and English from the University of Kansas. Her book, Heartland, has been compared to Jeannette Walls’ bestselling memoir The Glass Castle and is a perfect companion to Barbara Ehrenreich’s iconic Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America. A former English professor and grant-writer for social service agencies, Sarah aims for all of her work to have a backbone of civic responsibility.
Sarah's reportage and commentary have been published by The Guardian, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Harper’s, and many other publications. Her essays on class and poverty, “Poor Teeth” and “The First Person on Mars,” were both listed as notables in Best American Essays. Sarah recently published a four-part piece in No Depression about Dolly Parton and the working-class feminism found in country music. She is a regular commentator in national media and has spoken on poverty, politics, rural issues, cultural divides and the future of news. Sarah was recently a Fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy and will soon launch a much-anticipated podcast about class and rural America.
As a fifth-generation Kansas farm kid, Sarah is a long-time dancer of the Country Two-Step, and she once won a nail-driving contest. She lives in Kansas.