Celebrate with the Montana Book Festival, Poetry Northwest, the Beargrass Writing Retreat, and the University of Montana in a poetry reading with Diné poet Brendan Shay Basham, one of two winners of this year’s James Welch Poetry Prize, presented by Poetry Northwest. Brendan will join the prize judge, Diné poet Sherwin Bitsui for a reading, followed by a conversation with Heather Cahoon, Assistant Professor and Director of the American Indian Governance and Policy Institute at the University of Montana and member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Poetry Northwest editor Keetje Kuipers will introduce the event.
Brendan Shay Basham (Diné) is a fiction writer, poet, educator, and former chef, born in Alaska and raised in northern Arizona. His work has appeared in such publications as the Santa Fe Literary Review, Red Ink, Yellow Medicine Review, Juked, Cloudthroat, and Sheepshead Review. He has been awarded several awards and fellowships from Writing By Writers, Tin House, the Truman Capote Trust, and he was a nominee for a 2016 PEN / Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers and a 2018 Pushcart Prize. Recently, he was awarded the first Native American Literary Award from the Ucross Foundation.
Brendan holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts, and is in the process of publishing his first novel. He lives and teaches in Nashville, TN, where he is also the Writers in Schools Coordinator with Southern Word, a literacy nonprofit bringing poetry and performance to Tennessee youth.