The Wyoming Arts Council offers two fellowship opportunities for Wyoming creative writers.
WHAT IS A CREATIVE WRITING FELLOWSHIP?
Creative Writing fellowships are awards of merit, based on a writer’s body of work, and honoring Wyoming’s literary artists whose work reflects serious and exceptional writing. The format of the 2018 fellowships is as follows: one fellowship will be awarded in each category of Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, and Fiction, for a total of three fellowships. Applications are juried by noted authors, literary agents, or writing professionals from outside the state. Jurors may award honorable mentions. Recipients of the Creative Writing fellowships will share their work at a Wyoming literary conference.
Fiction – David Romtvedt was born in Portland, Oregon and raised in southern Arizona. He received a BA in American Studies from Reed College and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and was a graduate fellow in Folklore and Ethnomusicology at the University of Texas at Austin. He has worked as a carpenter, tree planter, truck driver, bookstore clerk, assembly line operative, letter carrier, blueberry picker, ranch hand, musician, and college professor.
His most recent books are the poetry collection “Dilemmas of the Angels” (Louisiana State University Press, 2017) and the novel “Zelestina Urza in Outer Space” (University of Nevada Center for Basque Studies, 2015). Past books include, “Buffalotarrak: An Anthology of the Basques of Buffalo, Wyoming,” “Windmill: Essays from Four Mile Ranch,” two books of fiction—”Crossing Wyoming” and “Free and Compulsory for All”—and the poetry collections “Some Church,” “Certainty,” “How Many Horses,” “Moon,” and “A Flower Whose Name I Do Not Know” which was selected for the National Poetry Series. A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in poetry, NEA trinational fellowship in music and poetry, the Pushcart Prize, and the Wyoming Governor’s Arts Award, Romtvedt served for seven years as Poet Laureate of Wyoming.
With the Fireants, Romtvedt performs dance music of the Americas and has released three recordings, “Bury my Clothes,” “Ants on Ice,” and “It’s Hot (about three weeks a year).” With Ospa, he has recorded “Hori da (That’s It!),” traditional and contemporary Basque music.
Romtvedt has served as the Centrum Foundation’s folk arts manager and been a staff musician at the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Pinewoods Family Week, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Sierra Swing, and the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
Creative Nonfiction – Kate O’Hara was born in Dodge City, Kansas. Yes, there was a basement; yes there was asbestos. She studied philosophy and history at KU in Lawrence and moved to Wyoming in 2004. Kate is a painter, writer, and a yoga teacher. She likes to spend her free time walking around looking for animals, and she’s been to Alaska twice (she met Buck Wilde)! She likes to swim in the ocean and at the lake. She rescued a dragonfly from a puddle once and then he came back to visit her and brought a swarm with him–that whole summer the dragonflies surrounded her. Kate also rescued a bunch of bumble bees once from a similar shallow body of water by letting them climb into her curls like little life preservers. She’s collected some cool rocks and bones and likes to make carrot salad. She was raised by an atheist feminist in the middle of Kansas so, yes, she’s lonely.
Poetry – Catherine Reeves was born in Casper, but now lives in Cheyenne with her husband and two children. She earned an MA at the University of Wyoming, with a focus on American Poetry and Gender Studies. She has taught English and served as the Language Arts Consultant for the Wyoming Department of Education. In the fall, she will study law at the University of Wyoming. You may find her poetry in “The Penn Review,” “Rust+Moth,” “Rise Up Review” and “By&By Poetry.”
Honorable mentions were given to Chad Hanson of Casper in Poetry, Jen Kocher of Newcastle in the Fiction category, Elise Schmelzer of Casper and Kevin Grange of Jackson in Creative Nonfiction.
Submissions are juried anonymously by jurors from outside the state. The jurors for this year’s Creative Writing Fellowships were Cecily Parks (Poetry), Andrew Altschul (Fiction), and Mike Scalise (Creative Nonfiction).
Maria Lisa Eastman of Hyattville, WY
Wyoming rancher Maria Lisa Eastman hails from the suburbs of Hyattville, pop. 100. She and her husband Skip operate the Oxbow Ranch, a sometimes-for-profit hay and cattle outfit, and Rainhorse Equine Assisted Services, a verifiable non-profit, where unfortunate horses are rehabilitated to help people who have had troubles themselves. She’s been convinced from an early age that horses are her next-of-kin, and they have long been her guides. While riding colts out in the foothills of New Mexico, she began to collect and study the native grasses, and was inspired to earn a degree in range and watershed. Maria likes to think the good life she lives now was given to her by horses. Her poetry arises from the vast landscapes of northwest Wyoming, from its animals, plants, and people.
Renée Carrier of Hulett, WY
Raised in an Air Force family, Renée Carrier began school in France and lived in five Southern states, before “migrating” to Wyoming at eighteen to attend the university, where she earned a B.A. in French. Her collection of creative, non-fiction essays, A Singular Notion, was published in 2006 by Pronghorn Press, a small press in Wyoming, under their imprint, Higher Shelf. In 2010, she edited, compiled and published, as a short run, her late father’s early aviation memoir. Devils Tower Natural History Association hired her to revise parts of The Devils Tower Climbing Handbook in 1994. The Owen Wister Review, among other anthologies, has included her work. Since January 2015, Renée has been working on a series, mainly set in the Black Hills. The Riven Country of Senga Munro is the working title of the first novel. She has completed two more, with the third presently in revision.
An honorable mention for the Neltje Blanchan Memorial Writing Award was given to Earle Layser of Alta, and an honorable mention for the Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Writing Award was given to Lyndi Bell O’Laughlin from Kaycee.
Award recipients and honorable mentions are selected anonymously by jurors from outside the state. The jurors for the 2018 Blanchan and Doubleday Awards was Melissa Kwasny.
The Frank Nelson Doubleday Award of $1,000 is given for the best poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or script written by a woman writer. The Neltje Blanchan Memorial Writing Award, $1,000, is given annually for the best poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or script which is informed by a relationship with the natural world. Both awards are designed to bring attention to writers in Wyoming who have not yet received wide recognition for their work, and to support emerging writers at crucial times in their careers. Poets, fiction writers, essayists, and script writers who have published no more than one book in each genre and who are not students or faculty members are invited to apply.
List of Previous Blanchan and Doubleday Award Recipients
Since 1989, 46 talented writers have received Blanchan/Doubleday awards: Jayme Feary, Erin Jones, Geoffrey O’Gara, Betsy Orient Bernfeld, Hannah Hinchman, David Mouat, Sheila Roberts, Scott Hagel, Holly Skinner, C.L. Rawlins, Marcia Saum, Dainis Hazners, Barbara Gilbert, William Hoagland, Diane LeBlanc, Tina Willis, Maija Rhee Devine, Mary Beth Baptiste, Julene Bair, Chavawn Kelley, Geneen Marie Haugen, Janell Hanson, Mark Spragg, Karol Griffin, Stefani Farris, Laura Bell, Darcy Lipp-Acord, Jack Clinton, Tina Welling, Susan Marsh, Myra L. Peak, Marcia Hensley, Jeffe Kennedy, Melodie Edwards, Bo Moore, Barbara Smith, Alisan Peters, Lou O. Madison, Christine B. Nelson, W. Dale Nelson, Nina S. McConigley, Patricia Frolander, Edith Cook, George Vlastos, Christine Fadden, Yvette Ward-Horner, Matt Daly and Marylee White.