LeAnne Howe


LeAnne Howe is an enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. She is an American Indian author, playwright, and scholar. Born and educated in Oklahoma, her work primarily deals with American Indian experiences. She attended Oklahoma State University, majoring in English, after which she worked at small newspapers in Texas, later moving to the Dallas Morning News. When her two sons were teenagers, she worked for a Wall Street securities firm and traveled regularly to New York City from her home in Texas. She obtained her MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College in 2000. She has read her fiction and lectured in Japan, Jordan, Israel, Romania, and Spain. Founder and director of the WagonBurner Theatre Troop, her plays have been produced in Los Angeles, New York City, New Mexico, Maine, Texas, South Dakota (see the review in Indian Country Today) and Colorado.

Howe is the screenwriter and on-camera narrator for a new 90-minute PBS documentary Indian Country Diaries: Spiral of Fire. The documentary, scheduled to air nationally in November 2006, takes Howe (Choctaw) to the North Carolina homelands of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to discover how their fusion of tourism, community, and cultural preservation is the key to the tribe's health in the 21st century. Along the way Howe seeks to reconcile her own identity as the daughter of a Cherokee father she never knew.

Howe's first novel, Shell Shaker, Aunt Lute Books, San Francisco, 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, Creative Prose. Équinoxes 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, received the Oklahoma Book Award for Poetry in 2006. The book is a collection of poetry and prose and rails against lost lands and lovers, heralds death and mad warriors, and celebrates a doomed love affair between Hollywood's invented characters: "Noble Savage" and "Indian Sports Mascot."

Miko Kings, an Indian baseball novel set in Ada, Oklahoma in 1903 and also 1969, is forthcoming from in November 2006 from Aunt Lute Books. The story centers on Hope Little Leader, the Choctaw pitcher who had the most contorted windup in Indian baseball history. Other characters are slugger Blip Bleen, catcher Batteries Goingsnake, first baseman Lucius Mummy, also known as "the barrel" and Ezol Daggs, the Choctaw postal clerk in Indian Territory who tries to patent her Choctaw theory of relativity and inadvertently changes the course of history for the Indians and their baseball team.

Howe's newest film project is writing and co-producing a new documentary (working title) Playing Pastime: American Indian Fast-Pitch Softball, and Survival, with three-time Emmy award winner filmmaker, James Fortier. The story is about the southeastern tribes and Indians who've been playing baseball and fast-pitch softball since the 1880s in Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. Production began in August 2004. (See the trailer for the film.)

Currently LeAnne Howe is associate professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in the American Indian Studies program, and the MFA program in Creative Writing in English. In 2003, she was the Louis D. Rubin Jr. Writer-in-Residence at Hollins University, Roanoke, VA. She has also been a visiting professor at Carleton College, Grinnell College, Sinte Gleska University in Mission, South Dakota, on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation, Wake Forest University, NC, the University of Cincinnati in the Women's Studies Department, and at the University of Minnesota's Department of American Indian Studies.

LeAnne Howe [seated] and Ojibwe field Producer Pam Belgarde [standing] on location during the filming of Indian Country Diaries: Spiral of Fire.
LeAnne Howe [seated] and Ojibwe field Producer Pam Belgarde [standing]
on location during the filming of Indian Country Diaries: Spiral of Fire.

The Native American Women's Playwright Archive contains a section on LeAnne's Work.

LeAnne's entry at Voices from the Gaps is also available.

A short biography from the Internet Public Library's Native American Author's Project is available.

Awards and Grants

Book cover

Evidence of Red was named the winner of the Oklahoma Book Award for 2006 in the poetry category. Photograph of LeAnne and the other Oklahoma Book Award winners.

LeAnne won the John and Renee Grisham Writer in Residence Fellowship, Oxford MS, for 2006-2007. This is a national award is given yearly to an emerging southern writer . She will be in residence in Oxford, MS, beginning in the fall of 2006.

In June 2005, ITVS San Francisco awarded James Fortier and LeAnne Howe a development grant to begin production on a 90-minute documentary film, Playing Pastime: American Indian Fast-Pitch Softball, and Survival. (Press Release [PDF])

In March 2004, LeAnne was awarded the Regents' Distinguished Lecturership at the University of California, Riverside, CA.

Équinoxes Rouge, the French translation of Shell Shaker is a 2004 finalist for Prix Médicis Estranger, one of France's top literary awards.

In May 2002, LeAnne received an American Book Award for Shell Shaker. Shell Shaker was a finalist for the 2003 Oklahoma Book Award. LeAnne was recently named Wordcraft Circle Writer of the Year in Creative Prose: Fiction for Shell Shaker.

LeAnne has been a Writer-in-Residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in 2000, The MacDowell Colony, in 1995, the Atlantic Center for the Arts in 1995, and held a Ragdale Writer's Residency in 1996. She has been a Research Fellow: Indian Voices in the Academy at the Newberry Library in 1996.

In November, 1993, LeAnne held a Smithsonian Institution - Native American internship where she investigated nineteenth century primary documents left by missionaries on the morphological changes in the Choctaw language. In October, 1993, she was an Artist-in-Residence on an Iowa Arts Council Grant, where she rewrote, produced and directed Indian Radio Days, a theatrical play in Cedar Rapids, IA, that was both theatrically staged at CSPS Theater, and broadcast to all American Public Radio stations in the Midwest on Columbus Day, 1993.

In February, 1993, LeAnne won a month-long grant to read and lecture from her fiction and non-fiction throughout Japan from the Okayama Buraku Liberation Research Institute, in conjunction with Hosei University in Tokyo.

In 1991, LeAnne attended the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for Historical Research on Ethnohistory of Southeastern Indians at the University of Kentucky, directed by Professors Theda Perdue and Michael Green. In 1995, she attended the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for College Teachers. Ethnohistory of American Indians at the University of Oklahoma, directed by Professor Gary Anderson, with Jacki Thompson Rand.

Writing available online

Indians Never Say Good-bye
The Chaos of Angels
Choctalking on Other Realities
Writers Segment (10/25/00) on South Dakota Public Radio [RealAudio]

Audio (mp3) from LeAnne's reading from Shell Shaker
on Prairie Lights WSUI, Iowa City on a Virtual iPod

Auda Billy's story
Issac Billy's story
Red Shoes story
Shakbatina's story

Books by LeAnne Howe or Containing Her Work       icon

Miko Kings, Aunt Lute Books. [ Forthcoming Fall 2006]
Evidence of Red, Salt Pub.
Shell Shaker, Aunt Lute Books.
Review of Shell Shaker in the Winston Salem Journal
Publisher's page for Shell Shaker
Review of Shell Shaker by Ken McCullough, SAIL, v15, No. 2, p58, 2003.
A Stand Up Reader, Into View Press, a collection of short stories.
Coyote Stories, Wowapi Press, a collection of short stories.

Anthologies and Journals containing LeAnne's Fiction and Plays      icon

Sister Nations, Heid Erdrich and Laura Tohe (Editors), New Rivers Press.
Spirit Songs: A Contemporary Indigenous Native Fabulist Anthology,
Lee Francis (Ed.), Invisible Cities Press. Contains "Miko Kings."
Clearing a Path: Theorizing the Past in Native American Studies,
Nancy Shoemaker (Ed.), Routledge Contains "The Story of America: A Tribalography"
Through the Eye of the Deer: An Anthology of Native American Woman Writers
Carolyn Dunn & Carol Comfort (Editors), Aunt Lute Books, contains the stories "Blood Sacrifice," and "A Story for Ohoyo Shatanni"
Seventh Generation : An Anthology of Native American Plays, Mimi D'Aponte (Editor),
Theatre Communications Group, contains the three act play "Indian Radio Days."
What's Fun Gotta Do With It, Belle Klem Thomsen and Jacob Eichler (Editors),
Copenhagen Business School Press, Denmark, contains the story "An American In New York".
"Choctalking on Other Realities" Winter 1999 issue of Grinnell Magazine.
Reinventing the Enemy's Language : Contemporary Native Women's Writing of North America
(Edited by Joy Harjo and Gloria Bird), W.W. Norton, contains the story "Indians Never Say Good-bye".
Gatherings, Volume X, A Retrospective of the First Decade, Greg Young-Ing & Florene Belmore (Editors),
Penticton: Theytus Books
"Choctalking on Other Realities" October issue of Cimarron Review, #121, 1997,
published by Oklahoma State University, Michael Wilson (Editor).
"Shell Shakers" appears in the Fall 1996 issue of Story,
published by F & W Publications, edited by Lois Rosenthal
Native-American Literature : A Brief Introduction and Anthology
(Harpercollins Literary Mosaic), Gerald Vizenor (Editor), Watson-Guptill Pubns., contains the story "Moccasins Don't Have High Heels".
Figlie Di Pocohontas racconti e poesie delle indiane d'America,
Cinzia Biagiotti and Laura Coltelli (Editors), Giunti Gruppo Editorial, Firenze Italy, contains the story "Un'americana a New York".
Global Cultures: A Transnational Short Fiction Reader, Elisabeth Young Bruehl (Editor),
Wesleyan University Press, contains the story "An American In New York".
Gatherings, Vol IV, Regeneration: Expanding the Web to Claim Our Future
Don Fiddler (Editor), Penticton: Theytus Books, contains the poem, "See this pen?".
Returning the Gift: Poetry and Prose from the First North American Native Writers' Festival,
ed. Joseph Bruchac, contains the story "A Story for Ohoyo Shatanni". (Sun Tracks Books, No 29) University of Arizona Press.
"The Chaos of Angels" appears in Callaloo, Native American Literature,
Volume 17, #1 Native Heritage Issue, 1994, Johns Hopkins University Press.
Earth Song, Sky Spirit : Short Stories of the Contemporary Native American Experience,
by Clifford E. Trafzer (Editor), contains the story "Danse de l'amour, Danse de mort"
Looking Glass, Univ. of California's Publications in American Indian Studies,
Clifford Trafzer (Editor), contains the story "Dance of the Dead".
American Indian Literature: An Anthology by Alan R. Velie,
University of Oklahoma Press, contains the stories "Moccasins Don't Have High Heels" and "The Red Wars".
"Evidence of Red" appears in Nebraska English Journal, 38.2, 1993,
"The Bone Picker" appears in Fiction International #20, 1991.
Spider Woman's Granddaughters:
Traditional Tales and Contemporary Writing by Native American Women, ed. Paula Gunn Allen, Fawcett Books, contains the story "An American In New York".
A review of Spider Woman's Granddaughters in the New York Times Book Review online edition.

Anthologies and Journals containing LeAnne's Essays

First Nations of North America, Politics and Representation, Hans Bak (editor),
VU Uitgeverij/VU University Press, V. 54 in the series European Contributions to American Studies.
Betsy Love and the Mississippi Married Women's Property Act of 1839, Mississippi History Now,
an Online History Journal, sponsored by the Mississippi Historical Society, Editor, Peggy Jeanes.
Indians in the Act: Native Theater Past and Present,
Craig Howe, Harvey Markowitz, Dean Rader and LeAnne Howe. SAIL: Studies in American Indian Literatures 16.1, p 32, 2004.
Here First Arnold Krupat & Brian Swann (Editors),
Random House contains the essay "My Mothers, My Uncles, Myself."
Gatherings, Vol IV, Regeneration: Expanding the Web to Claim Our Future
Don Fiddler (Editor), Penticton: Theytus Books, contains the articles "The Indian Researcher As An Interpreter of History" and, "Hashi Mi Mali."
"The Sewage of Foreigners", co-authored with Ms. Scott Morrison appears in
Federal Bar News and Journal, Vol. 39, No. 6 (July).

In Association with Amazon.com

This is an "official" site in that this page was constructed with the assistance and active collaboration of the writer, LeAnne Howe. The website "author" is Karen M. Strom.

© 2006 LeAnne Howe and Karen Strom.

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