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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Writers 'Have to Write'

“Writing is not a matter of choice. Writers have to write. It is somehow in their temperament, in the blood, in tradition.” – N. Scott Momaday

Born on this date in 1934, Momaday is a Kiowa novelist, short story writer, essayist and poet and winner of both the Pulitzer Prize (for his novel House Made of Dawn) and National Medal of Arts for his writing.  While “House” has been called “A Classic,” he is perhaps best known for the novel/memoir/folklore work The Way to Rainy Mountain.

Born in Oklahoma, Momaday grew up on Reservations in Arizona and New Mexico. After earaning a Writing/English degree from the University of New Mexico, he went on to a Ph.D. in English Literature at Stanford, where he also began his writing career, focusing first on poetry.  

Also a renowned teacher and speaker, he was one of the nation’s first Native American academics and created a curriculum based on American Indian literature and mythology.   In addition to many national honors, he has been awarded some two dozen honorary degrees and been named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.    Selected for the Native American Hall of Fame (in 2018), Momaday has been named for the “Ken Burns American Heritage Prize,” to be presented later this year.  
                                       “I am interested in the way that we look at a given landscape and take possession of it in our blood and brain,” Momaday said.   “None of us lives apart from the land entirely; such an isolation is unimaginable.”

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