“I became a writer so I could go off in all directions, meet new people, write about what I’ve hungered to know.” As a 2010-2011 William J. Fulbright Scholar, LeAnne Howe lived in Amman, Jordan to research her forthcoming novel, Memoir of a Choctaw Indian in the Arab Revolt, 1917, set in Bilaad ash Sham, and Allen, Oklahoma.
LeAnne Howe is an enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation and writes fiction, poetry, screenplays, creative non-fiction, plays, and scholarship that primarily deal with American Indian experiences. In 2012, she was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas, and she also received the 2012 USA Ford Fellowship in the Literature category. Her short fiction has appeared in Kenyon Review, Fiction International, Callaloo, Story, Yalobusha Review, Cimarron Review, Platte Valley Review, and elsewhere, and has been translated in France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark. She has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Ragdale Writers Residency, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts.
Her first novel, Shell Shaker (Aunt Lute Books, 2001), received an American Book Award in 2002 from the Before Columbus Foundation. The novel was a finalist for the 2003 Oklahoma Book Award, and awarded Wordcraft Circle Writer of the Year, 2002. Equinoxes Rouge, the French translation, was the 2004 finalist for Prix Medici Estranger, one of France’s top literary awards. Evidence of Red (Salt Publishing, UK, 2005) won the Oklahoma Book Award for poetry in 2006, and the Wordcraft Circle Award for 2006. Howe’s second novel, Miko Kings: An Indian Baseball Story (Aunt Lute Books, 2007), was the Hampton University’s Read-In-Selection for 2009-2010. Her most recent book, Choctalking on Other Realities (Aunt Lute Books, 2013), is now available to pre-order. In 2011, Howe was awarded the Tulsa Library Trust Award for her work as an American Indian writer in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
To read more about Howe’s many accomplishments and accolades in university classrooms, theater stages, and—of course—on the written page, visit LeAnne Howe’s website.
Winner of the 2002 American Book Award
Why was Red Shoes, the most formidable Choctaw warrior of the 18th century, assassinated by his own people? Why does his death haunt Auda Billy, an Oklahoma Choctaw woman, accused in 1991 of murdering Choctaw Chief Redford McAlester? Moving between the known details of Red Shoes' life and the riddle of McAlester's death, this novel traces the history of the Billy women whose destiny it is to solve both murders—with the help of a powerful spirit known as the Shell Shaker.
An Indian Baseball Story
Miko Kings is set in Indian Territory's queen city, Ada, Oklahoma, during the baseball fever of 1907, but moves back and forth from 1969 during the Vietnam War to present-day Ada. The story focuses on an Indian baseball team but brings a new understanding to the term "America's favorite pastime." For tribes in Indian Territory, baseball was an extension of a sport they'd been playing for centuries before their forced removal to Indian Territory. In this lively and humorous work of fiction informed by careful historical research, LeAnne Howe weaves original and fictive documents such as newspaper clippings, photographs, typewritten letters, and handwritten journal entries into the narrative.
Choctalking on Other Realities
The collected stories/essays in Choctalking on Other Realities, by Choctaw author LeAnne Howe, depict, with wry humor, the contradictions and absurdities that transpire in a life lived crossing cultures and borders. The result is three parts memoir, one part absurdist fiction, and one part marvelous realism. The collection begins with Howe’s stint working in the bond business for a Wall Street firm as the only American Indian woman (and ‘out’ Democrat) in the company, then chronicles her subsequent travels, invited as an American Indian representative and guest speaker, to indigenous gatherings and academic panels in Jordan, Jerusalem, Romania, and Japan.
PRAISE FOR CHOCTALKING ON OTHER REALITIES
…In this extraordinary collection, LeAnne Howe does for Choctaw storytelling what The Hunger Games does for archery—makes something seemingly traditional and archaic feel edgy, new, and necessary.
— Dean Rader, author of Engaged Resistance: American Indian Art, Literature and Film
Choctalking is LeAnne Howe at her very best. Who else can mix hard-hitting social commentary with wicked wit and good old fashioned storytelling? Howe is a true citizen of the world and the relative at the party who can't stop telling the truth. This is a book that belongs in classrooms and book clubs, too. Everyone should read this book. Everyone.
— Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow
LeAnne Howe is a mound builder of story. Like earthworks that gather far-flung nations and connect worlds above and below, these exquisite tales of travel and cross-cultural encounter align across geographies and generations, across embodied research and archival adventure, across wry humor and speculative analysis to reveal unexpected pattern, relationship, theory. What emerges is sophisticated and complex, engineered not simply to endure but to spark future performance, to provoke story building of the reader’s own.
— Chadwick Allen, author of Trans-Indigenous: Methodologies for Global Native Literary Studies