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Roughly for the North: Native Women Writers Kick Off Native American Heritage Month

October 27 at 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

This reading and discussion will celebrate the launch of Carrie Ayagaduk Ojanen’s debut poetry collection, Roughly for the North (University of Alaska Press 2018) and forthcoming debut poetry collections by Abigail Chabitnoy (How to Dress a Fish, Wesleyan University Press 2019) and Casandra López (Brother Bullet, University of Arizona Press 2019), along with the Institute of American Indian Arts MFA faculty Kristiana Kahakauwila’s This is Paradise (Penguin Random House 2013) and novel-in-progress, and the November release of Joan Naviyuk Kane’s sixth collection, Sublingual (Finishing Line Press, November 2018). This event is co-sponsored by Alaska-based literary nonprofit 49 Writers and Hugo House.


Carrie Ojanen

Carrie Ayagaduk Ojanen is an Inupiaq writer from the Ugiuvamiut tribe. The Ugiuvamiut lived on Ugivak island (King Island, Alaska) during the winter until the 1960s, when the federal government closed the BIA school on the island, forcing the residents to relocate to Nome, Alaska, where she grew up. Her grandparents greatly missed living on Ugivak. Their longing for their home and her sense of place in Nome, informed by a sense of this displacement, inspires her writing. She received her MFA from the University of Montana. Her work has appeared in Prairie SchoonerThe Louisville Review, As/Us Journal, and Yellow Medicine Review.

Abigail Chabitnoy

Abigail Chabitnoy earned her MFA in poetry at Colorado State University and was a 2016 Peripheral Poets fellow. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry ReviewTin HouseGulf CoastPleiadesRed Ink, and Pinch. She is an enrolled descendant of the Koniag Corporation and member of the Tangirnaq Native Village in Kodiak, Alaska. She grew up in Pennsylvania and currently resides in Colorado, where she is a research associate for a consulting firm specializing in supporting indigenous self-determination. Her debut poetry collection is How to Dress a Fish (Wesleyan University Press).

Kristiana Kahakauwila

Kristiana Kahakauwila is a hapa writer of kanaka maoli (Native Hawaiian), German, and Norwegian extract. Her first book, This is Paradise: Stories (Hogarth, 2013), takes as its heart the people and landscapes of contemporary Hawai’i. She is an associate professor of creative writing at Western Washington University and has served as faculty at the Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing program at Oregon State University-Cascades. She has also taught at Chaminade University of Honolulu. Kahakauwila earned an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan and a BA in comparative literature from Princeton University. This Is Paradise was short-listed for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing and named a 2013 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection.

Casandra Lopez

Casandra López is a Chicana, Cahuilla, Luiseño, and Tongva writer raised in Southern California. A CantoMundo Fellow, López is a founding editor of the literary journal As/Us: A Space for Women of the World and teaches at Northwest Indian College. Her chapbook, Where Bullet Breaks, was published by the Sequoyah National Research Center and her poetry collection Brother Bullet is forthcoming from University of Arizona.

Joan Naviyuk Kane

Joan Naviyuk Kane’s books and chapbooks of prose and poetry include The Cormorant Hunter’s Wife (2009), Hyperboreal (2013), The Straits (2015), Milk Black Carbon (2017), A Few Lines in the Manifest (2018), and Sublingual (2018). She is a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow, has won a Whiting Writer’s Award, the Donald Hall Prize in Poetry, the USA Projects Creative Vision Award, an American Book Award, the Alaska Literary Award, and fellowships from the Rasmuson Foundation, Alaska State Council on the Arts, Alaska Arts and Cultures Foundation, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, the School for Advanced Research, and the Aninstantia Foundation. Kane was a Harvard National Scholar, and the recipient of a graduate Writing Fellowship from Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Inupiaq with family from King Island and Mary’s Igloo, she raises her children as a single mother in Anchorage, Alaska.