Participants

FEATURED AUTHORS

CRAIG CHILDS is known for following ancient migration routes on foot, pursuing early Pueblo passages across the Southwest and most recently the paths of first peoples into the Americas during the Ice Age. He has published more than a dozen books of adventure, wilderness, and science. His new book, ATLAS OF A LOST WORLD: TRAVELS IN ICE AGE AMERICA, examines the dynamics of people moving into an uninhabited hemisphere in the late Pleistocene, documenting arrivals from Alaska to Florida to southern Chile. He has won the Orion Book Award and has twice won the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award, the Galen Rowell Art of Adventure Award, and the Spirit of the West Award for his body of work. He is contributing editor at Adventure Journal Quarterly, and his writing has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Men’s Journal, and Outside. The New York Times says “Childs’s feats of asceticism are nothing if not awe inspiring: he’s a modern-day desert father.” He has a B.A. in Journalism from CU Boulder with a minor in Women’s Studies, and from Prescott College, an M.A. in Desert Studies. An occasional commentator for NPRs Morning Edition, he teaches writing at University of Alaska in Anchorage and the Mountainview MFA at Southern New Hampshire University. He lives outside of Norwood, CO. 

JAKE SKEETS is Black Streak Wood, born for Water’s Edge. He is Diné from Vanderwagen, New Mexico. He holds an MFA in poetry from the Institute of American Indian Arts. Skeets is a winner of the 2018 Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Contest and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Skeets edits an online publication called Cloudthroat and organizes a poetry salon and reading series called Pollentongue, based in the Southwest. He is a member of Saad Bee Hózhǫ́: A Diné Writers’ Collective and currently teaches at Diné College in Tsaile, Arizona. He is the author of Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers, from Milkweed Editions. 


FESTIVAL AUTHORS, MUSICIANS & PRESENTERS

RICK ABASTA is Tó áhání (Near the water people) born for Filipino. His maternal grandfathers are Kin łichíí’nii (Red house people) and his paternal grandfathers are Filipino. He was born on the Navajo Nation in Ft. Defiance, Arizona and raised in Window Rock and St. Michaels, Arizona. Rick published a number of fanzines at Window Rock High School including The Zoo, Terra Incognita, and Human Persona, Inc. In college, he published two additional all-Native poetry zines, Plethoric Renditions of Existence and More Plethoric Renditions of Existence. On April 20, 2005, he began Ma’ii Productions and seven months later, published Terra Incognita, an alternative Diné zine. His first book “All Eyes on Me: A Collection of Dine Poetry”  is published by Salina Bookshelf, Inc. It examines the contemporary themes of government, love, and family in Diné life. He has worked in advertising and editorial capacities for Arizona Republic, Phoenix New Times, Navajo Times, Char-Koosta News, Native American Times, and Gallup Sun. Rick works in Window Rock and continues supporting and advocating for Navajo writers, artists, musicians and filmmakers. 

CELESTE ADAME, Muckleshoot, holds a Master of Fine Arts in poetry from Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM. Her thesis, Lovers Landscape, explores gender identity, sexuality, love, basketball, landscapes of both Washington and New Mexico. She has been published in Yellow Medicine Review, As/Us: A Journal for Women of the World, hinchas de poesia, and Santa Fe Literary Review. She was also one of the poetry editors for the first two editions of Mud City, the online literary review of the Institute of American Indian Arts’ Low Residency MFA program. 

JENNIFER BATTISTI, a Las Vegas native, studied creative writing at the College of Southern Nevada. Her work has appeared in the anthology, Legs of Tumbleweed, Wings of Lace, and is forthcoming in Where We Live, an anthology of writing and art in response to the October 1st tragedy, as well as The Desert Companion, Minerva Rising, The Citron Review, FLARE, Helen: A Literary magazine, The Red Rock Review, 300 Days of Summer and elsewhere. In 2016 Nevada Public Radio interviewed her about her poetry. She holds a leadership position on the Las Vegas Poets Organization and is the administer and a participating teaching artist for the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project in Nevada. This is her first chapbook. 

LYNCIA BEGAY is a newly emerging Diné writer and artist based out of so-called Arizona who creates nonfiction pieces, acutely focused on the impacts of colonization. Her work often features elements of prose, poetry, essay, and story. Her essay, The Glittering World, is forthcoming in the anthology, Science of Story. As a person, Lyncia’s interests consist of creating community projects geared toward cultural revitalization and indigenous education systems. Lyncia has also graduated with a Masters in Creative Writing from Northern Arizona University.  

JEFF BIGGERS Author of eight books, Jeff Biggers is an award-winning historian, journalist and playwright. His work has appeared on National Public Radio and Public Radio International, and in the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, Atlantic Monthly, Huffington Post, Salon, The Nation, Al Jazeera, Brick Magazine (Toronto) and Il Giornale (Italy).  As a playwright and performer of monologues, he appears frequently at theatres, festivals, conferences and schools. Presently based in Iowa and Italy, Biggers has worked as a writer, performer and educator across the United States, Europe, India, and Mexico.

ERIK BITSUI, a Navajo from Blue Gap, Arizona, has an MFA from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Hostiin Bitsui lives with wife and two daughters in East Flagstaff, where he is DJ for a weekly heavy metal radio show on KSZN 101.5 FM.

SHERWIN BITSUI, a Diné (Navajo) from the Navajo Reservation in White Cone, Arizona, received an AFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts Creative Writing Program. He is the author of the poetry collections Shapeshift (2003) and  Flood Song (2009). Steeped in Native American culture, mythology, and history, Bitsui’s poems reveal the tensions in the intersection of Native American and contemporary urban culture. His poems are imagistic, surreal, and rich with details of the landscape of the Southwest. Flood Song is a book-length lyric sequence that explores the traditions of Native American writing through postmodern fragment and stream of consciousness. Bitsui has received a Whiting Writers’ Award, a grant from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, a Truman Capote Creative Writing Fellowship, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship. He teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts. 

DUSTI BOWLING grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, where, as her family will tell you, she always had her nose in a book. But it wasn’t until after starting down a couple of different career paths that Dusti realized her true passion was writing. She currently lives in New River, Arizona with her husband, three daughters, a dozen tarantulas, a gopher snake named Burrito, and a cockatiel named Cilantro.  

PAIGE BUFFINGTON originally from Tohatchi, New Mexico, a small town on the Eastern portion of the Navajo Nation. She is Navajo, of the Bear Enemies clan born for White People. She received a BFA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2013 and an MFA with a focus in poetry in 2015. Paige is a recipient of the Truman Capote Fellowship. Her work has appeared in Taos Journal of International Poetry & Art and Hinchas de Poesia. Her poem, “All American Poem,” published by Narrative was named best Western poem by Western Writers of America for the 2016 year. She currently lives in Gallup, New Mexico. 

SIMMONS BUNTIN has won an Academy of American Poets Prize, Colorado Artist’s Fellowship for Poetry, and grants from the U.S. Forest Service, Arizona Commission on the Arts, and the Tucson-Pima Arts Council. His first book of poetry, Riverfall, was published in 2005 and his second, Bloom, was published in 2010, both by Ireland’s Salmon Poetry. His book Unsprawl: Remixing Spaces as Places (co-authored with Ken Pirie) was published by Planetizen Press in 2013. Simmons also serves as a contributing editor of Shenandoah and as a member of the Arts, Environment, and Humanities Network at the University of Arizona. Catch up with him at www.SimmonsBuntin.com.

SEAN CARSWELL is the author of the eight books (Drinks for the Little Guy, Glue and Ink Rebellion, Barney’s Crew, Train Wreck Girl, Madhouse Fog and The Metaphysical Ukulele, Occupy Pynchon, and Dead Extra). He co-founded the independent book publisher Gorsky Press and the music magazine Razorcake. His writing has  appeared in such diverse places as the skateboarding magazine Thrasher, tiny ‘zines like Zisk, prestigious literary journals like The Southeastern Review and The Rattling Wall, and peer-reviewed journals like Critical Sociology and The Journal of American Culture. He is an associate professor of writing and literature at California State University Channel Islands. His latest novel, Dead Extra, has been widely praised for its daring and originality.  

MACKENZIE CHASE is the managing editor of Flagstaff Live!, Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine, Best of Flag and other niche publications distributed by the Arizona Daily Sun. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in photojournalism and documentary studies from Northern Arizona University. 

SVEA CONRAD is a writer for Flagstaff Live! Mountain Living Magazine and the Arizona Daily Sun. Born and raised in Flagstaff, Svea is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College where she worked as assistant archivist and before that, as a staff writer for the Sarah Lawrence Phoenix. She studied oral history, creative writing, literature and Spanish—all things she still loves very much. 

DANA DIEHL earned her BA in Creative Writing from Susquehanna University and her MFA in Creative Writing at Arizona State University, where she served as editor of Hayden’s Ferry Review. She is the author of two short story collections: Our Dreams Might Align (Splice UK, 2018) and The Classroom, a collaborative collection (Gold Wake Press, 2019). Her fiction chapbook, TV Girls, won the New Delta Review 2017-2018 Chapbook Prize, judged by Chen Chen. She has published work in Passages North, Booth, Necessary Fiction, North American Review, and elsewhere. She lives and teaches in Tucson. 

CHRIS ETLING is the managing editor of the Arizona Daily Sun. He’s worked for the Daily Sun since November 2009 and has lived in Flagstaff for 16 years. 

PETER FRIEDERICI is a journalist and essayist who teaches science communication at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff and whose reporting has been recognized with an award from the Society of Environmental Journalists. He is the author of several books, including (with photographer Peter Goin) A New Form of Beauty: Glen Canyon Beyond Climate Change. 

 

GABRIEL GRANILLO is an assistant editor and staff writer at Flagstaff Live!, Arizona Daily Sun and Mountain Living Magazine, with a focus on arts and culture reporting. He is a graduate of Northern Arizona University, as well as a creative writer, visual journalist, musician and over-thinker living in Flagstaff. 

ANDREW IBRADO has been performing for the past six years around Flagstaff, Arizona finding his beginnings in all-age open mics. Ibrado now hosts open mic every fourth Tuesday of the month at Firecreek Coffee Co. and every fourth Thursday of the month at Uptown Pubhouse. Not only a singer-songwriter, he also works in video production and has won two awards for his short films. Ibrado is one of the hosts of Juniper House and works tech for Flagstaff Poetry Slam.

ALY JAY is a musician who came from Youngstown, Ohio to Arizona to work on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in the spring of 2000. Her travels brought her through Flagstaff, California, and Washington until eventually she returned to Flagstaff in the 2003. She is a touring musician and continues to write and produce music. Her first CD, Bones in the Backyard, was released by Elephant Red Records of Sausalito, California in 2006.  Her latest collection Upside Down came out in the winter of 2009. Koshari Television’s Tyrus Coursey has described Alyson as the “siren of the mountain,” FlagLive has awarded her the Editor’s Choice Selection for best babe in Flagstaff, and PBS President David Lowe has described her as “the most vibrant voice of her generation.”

JAMES JAY has worked as a bartender, a wildland firefighter, bookseller, surveyor, and furniture mover. He lives in Flagstaff, Arizona where he has taught poetry at the jail, the public schools, and the university. His poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and magazines. He received an MFA from The University of Montana and an MA in Literature from Northern Arizona University. Currently, he is a writer for FlagLive, writing the Bartender Wisdom bi-monthly column; the Executive Director of the Northern Arizona Book Festival. He owns a bar, Uptown Pubhouse, with his wife, the musician Alyson Jay, and they have two sons, Wilson and Henry. They have three dogs of varying mutt types (pit mix, boxer mix, a coyote mix from parts unknown), who all think they’re very fast. Recently, he was awarded the Copper Quill Award. His first books of poems are The Undercards and The Journeymen. His next book, Barman, has just been released (Gorsky Press, Los Angeles). 

BODERRA JOE is Diné from Bááhaztł’ah (Twin Lakes), NM. From the Folded Arms Clan, born for Near the Water clan. A photographer and freelance writer, Joe graduated from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, 2016 and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. at IAIA MFA Low Residency program in 2018. 

MICHAEL KITT is the author of The Moon: An Observing Guide for Backyard Telescopes. He contributes to the Lowell Observer and the Museum of Northern Arizona’s publication, Plateau. Now retired, he serves on a variety of nonprofit boards. 

HEATHER LAND-CASSERA, Clark County, Nevada’s Poet Laureate, holds an MFA in Poetry with a Certificate in Literary Translation. In 2017 she was named Las Vegas’ Best Local Writer or Poet by the readers of KNPR’s Desert Companion, and her poems have been published by The Normal School, North American Review, Pleiades, South Dakota Review, and many other literary journals. Heather serves as World Literature Editor for The Literary Review and Editor-in-Chief for Tolsun Books. At Nevada State College, Heather teaches Creative Writing, World Literature, and more.

BOJAN LOUIS (Diné) is the author of the poetry collection Currents (BkMk Press 2017), which received a 2018 American Book Award, and the nonfiction chapbook Troubleshooting Silence in Arizona (The Guillotine Series 2012). His fiction has appeared in Ecotone, Numéro Cinq Magazine, Yellow Medicine Review, and Alaska Quarterly Review; nonfiction in MudCity Journal and AS/US. Louis has been a resident at The MacDowell Colony and was the inaugural Virginia G. Piper Fellow-in-Residence at Arizona State University. He is an assistant professor of Creative Writing (Poetry) and American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona.  

SAM MCMANIS is a staff writer at the Arizona Daily Sun. Previously, he has been a writer and columnist at the Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times. He is the author of two books, “Crossing California” (2017) and “Running to Glory: An Unlikely Team, a Challenging Season, and Chasing the American Dream,” which was published Sept. 1, 2019 by Lyons Press. 

TYLER MITCHELL is Tódích’íi’nii born for Honágháahnii; his maternal grandparents are the Mą’íí Deeshgíízhíníí and his paternal grandparents are the Kinyaa’áanii. He is from Tsaile, Arizona. Mitchell received his B.A. in English from Northern Arizona University and he is a member of the Saad Bee Hózhǫ́: Diné Writers’ Collective. He serves as the Executive Editor for Salina Bookshelf in Flagstaff, Arizona, which is an independent publishing company that specializes in Navajo and Hopi literature.

PAUL MOSIER began writing novels in 2011 but has written in some fashion his entire life. He lives a short walk from the place of his birth in downtown Phoenix, Arizona, but it has been a very circuitous route that brought him there. He is married and is a father to two lovely daughters. He loves listening to baseball on the radio, eating vegetarian food, drinking coffee, talking nonstop, and riding trains. In fact, he has ridden most of the route described in Train I Ride, which is his debut novel.  

KATIE QUINNELLY is a West Virginian writer with two houseplants and a lot of pet rocks. She currently teaches climbing classes at Climbing New Heights in Martinsburg, WV and is a climbing guide in the Appalachian Mountains. She is the author of the chapbook, Sparrow Pie (Eggtooth Editions). 

FRANKIE ROLLINS has published a collection of short fiction, The Sin Eater & Other Stories with Queen’s Ferry Press in 2013, as well as fiction and non-fiction in Feminist Wire, Fairy Tale Review, Sonora Review, Conjunctions, Bellevue Literary Review, and The New England Review, among others. Frankie has two forthcoming novellas, Doctor Porchiat’s Dream in the Running Wild Press Novella Anthology 3 coming out Fall 2019, and a flash fiction novella, The Grief Manuscript, coming out with Finishing Line Press in 2020. Currently, she’s finishing a non-fiction book on writing, Writing from the Fifth Brain: A Theory on Imagination. She teaches honors and creative writing at Pima Community College in Tucson, AZ.  

LORI APRIL ROME is a park ranger at Grand Canyon and has worked for the National Park Service across the country, from Alaska to Florida. She enjoys hiking, canoeing, and walking with her adopted dogs, Salt and Soap, and her husband, Kevin. Her first book, The Adventures of Salt & Soap at the Grand Canyon, is the true tale of two puppies on the adventure of a lifetime. Their rollicking story involves desert animals, big rapids, friendly rangers, and a dizzying helicopter ride as Salt and Soap search for their home in this world. This heartwarming story will delight children of all ages. 

SARA SAMS is a poet and prose writer from Oak Ridge, Tennessee. She is a graduate of Davidson College (B.A.) and Arizona State University (M.F.A.). Her poems and translations have appeared in Blackbird, The Volta, Matter Monthly, The Drunken Boat, Now & Then: The Appalachian Magazine, and elsewhere. She currently works as a Lecturer of English at the University of Arizona. You can find her online at saraesams.com

KEVIN SCHINDLER is Lowell Observatory’s historian and for years helped lead the Flagstaff Corral of Westerners International and the Flagstaff Festival of Science. He contributes an astronomy column for the Arizona Daily Sun.  

JEFF SCHULTZ is a second-year MFA candidate at Northern Arizona University, where he writes fiction and creative nonfiction. His writing has appeared in Story Club Magazine and The Arizona Daily Sun, and he is a recipient of the Charles E. Bull Creative Writing Scholarship. Jeff loves living in Flagstaff even though the rent is too damn high.

MELISSA SEVIGNY grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Arizona and an M.FA. in Creative Writing and Environment from Iowa State University. Her first book, Mythical River, forthcoming from the University of Iowa Press, is about water issues in the Southwest. She has worked as a science communicator for NASA’s Phoenix Mars Scout Mission, the Water Resources Research Center, and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Melissa relocated to Flagstaff in 2015 to join KNAU’s team. She enjoys hiking, fishing and reading fantasy novels.

JESSE SENSIBAR loves small furry animals and assault rifles with equal abandon and has a soft spot in his heart for innocent strippers and jaded children. He is a product of the mean streets of Midwestern industrial cities. He spent his youth on the shores of the post-industrial Great Lakes in tattoo shops, pizza parlors, corner bars, speed shops, and motorcycle clubhouses. Jesse came west to the high desert in the late 1980s and quickly disappeared down the rabbit hole of Southwestern outlaw drug culture. He emerged from that hole in 2008; close to death and with a solid quarter century of hard drug abuse under his belt. He has worked as a mechanic, heavy equipment operator, strip club bouncer, repossession agent, tattoo shop owner, private investigator, tow truck driver, snow plow operator, wildland firefighter, and college English teacher. He spends his time writing and promoting the art of storytelling. You can usually find him in the dying Ponderosa Pine forests surrounding Flagstaff, Arizona or in the old barrios of Tucson, Arizona. Otherwise, he is probably somewhere out on the highway, documenting the passing of his rapidly disappearing American West and pondering the fleeting nature of memory, sin, spirituality, and forgiveness. 

ROANNA “ROWIE” SHEBALA, is a Native American of the Dine (Navajo Tribe) and Shiwi (Zuni Tribe). Tsenjikini Born for Deeshchii’nii, her maternal grandparents are the Naasht’ezhi Dine’e’. She is from Fort Defiance, AZ. Shebala earned her B.S. in Theater at Northern Arizona University and is a current M.F.A. in Creative Writing student at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM. Spoken Word artist who has been featured on four National Poetry Slam team, a five-time representative on the Women of the World Poetry Slam, and a two-time representative for the Individual World Poetry Slam. Her work has been featured in Button Poetry, Indian Country Today, in various zines, and magazines such as Annick Press, Red Ink, Wicked Banshee Press, and Suspect Press. Shebala has performed her spoken word poetry at the Lincoln Center for the Out of Doors Project and nationally. She credits her father for gifting her with storytelling; her works combines story, poetry, and performance. She is also a member of Saad Bee Hozho: Dine Writiers’ Collective. 

JANNI LEE SIMNER lives in the Arizona desert, where, even without magic, the plants know how to bite and the dandelions really do have thorns. She has published four books for younger readers, as well as more than 30 short stories. Bones of Faerie is her first young adult novel. 

KIM STOLL lives in Tucson, Arizona. She holds a BA in creative writing from Susquehanna University and an MFA in poetry from the University of Arizona. Her chapbook, Anna Lives, is available from Dancing Girl Press, and you can read her work online at Cartridge Lit, ILK, Birdfeast, Cloud Rodeo, and Alice Blue Review. She owns four large dogs and yes, they all bite. 

DANIEL W VANDEVER is from Haystack, NM and is the Communications Director of Navajo Technical University where he also serves as an adjunct instructor. Vandever obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri in Strategic Communication and his graduate degree from the University of New Mexico in Community and Regional Planning. In his free time, Vandever volunteers for the Rug Auction of Crownpoint, providing technical support, to help local weavers sell their rugs. Vandever comes from a long line of educators and is the grandson of Navajo Code Talker Joe Vandever Sr. Vandever is the author and illustrator of Fall in Line, Holden! A book that chronicles a young Navajo boy through his day at boarding school. 

MILES WAGGENER is the author of four volumes of poetry: Phoenix Suites, Sky Harbor, Desert Center, and most recently Superstition Freeway, published last year by The Word Works of Washington DC. He has been the recipient of The Washington Prize as well as individual grants from the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Nebraska Arts Council. His poems have appeared widely in such journals as The Antioch Review, Crazyhorse, Beloit Poetry Journal, North American Review, Notre Dame Review, Cutbank, Gulfcoast, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. He heads the creative writing program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where he has been a faculty member since 2006. 

NICOLE WALKER is the author of the collections The After-Normal: Brief, Alphabetical Essays on a Changing Planet from Rose Metal Press and Sustainability: A Love Story from Mad Creek Books. Her previous books include Where the Tiny Things Are, Egg, Micrograms, Quench Your Thirst with Salt, and This Noisy Egg. She edited for Bloomsbury the essay collections Science of Story with Sean Prentiss and with Margot Singer, Bending Genre: Essays on Creative Nonfiction. She’s nonfiction editor at Diagram and teaches at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. 

ANNIE WATSON is proud of the meaningful work that she does as a high school English teacher, and she feels balanced whenever she can get outside and find time to write. She finds daily joy in reading bedtime stories, and she looks forward to her family’s next adventure to the bookstore, museum, or beach. She and her husband and two children enjoy the beautiful mountains, sunflowers, parks, community events, and pizza places in and around Flagstaff.   

ALEXANDRA WITTENBERG has lived in Flagstaff for five years and has worked at the Arizona Daily Sun for one year as a digital content producer and feature writer. Before working at AZDS, Alexandra taught English in Israel, wrote scripts for an audio book company and taught writing, reading and spelling at a Montessori school in town. 

EVANGELINE PARSONS YAZZIE earned her graduate degree in Bilingual Multicultural Education and her doctorate of Education with an emphasis on language preservation and language maintenance, both while attending Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, where she taught for more than 20 years as a Navajo language professor. She currently lives in Flagstaff with her family.