Submittable is excited to share the results of this year’s Eliza So Fellowship. We were honored to receive so many incredible manuscripts and applications from Native American writers—thank you for sharing your work with us. Please join us in congratulating Tiffany Midge, selected by Heather Cahoon, as our 2020 Eliza So Fellowship Winner. We also wish to honor this year’s finalists Chelsea Hicks and Shaina Nez, and our runners-up, Casandra Lopez and Ruby Murray.
Tiffany Midge will receive $1000 and Submittable will host a virtual reading for her this fall. In light of the coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainty around safe travel and events, this year’s fellowship will no longer involve a stay in Missoula. While we regret having to make this change, given the severity of COVID-19, we feel it is necessary to protect the health of our fellow and our community.
Kudos to Tiffany and thanks again to everyone who applied, to those who helped us spread the word, and to our judge Heather Cahoon. Find out more about Tiffany’s project and why our judge loved it below.
About Tiffany Midge
Tiffany Midge is a citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and raised by wolves in the Pacific Northwest. A former humor columnist for Indian Country Today, she taught writing and composition for Northwest Indian College, and served as poet laureate for Moscow, Idaho.
Her books include The Woman Who Married a Bear (winner of the Kenyon Review Earthworks Prize for Indigenous Poetry and a Western Heritage Award), and Outlaws, Renegades and Saints: Diary of a Mixed-Up Halfbreed (winner of the Diane Decorah Memorial Poetry Award). Her writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, the Offing, Waxwing, World Literature Today, Lit Hub, First American Art Magazine, and more. Her humor memoir is Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese’s (University of Nebraska Press).
Midge’s McSweeney’s essay “Open Letter to White Women Concerning the Handmaid’s Tale and America’s Historical Amnesia” won a 2019 Pushcart Prize and her subversively comic collection of poems, Horns, is forthcoming from Spokane’s Scablands Books.
Midge was the 2019 Simons Public Humanities fellow for University of Kansas Hall Center for the Humanities. She’s appeared on LiveWire with Luke Burbank, and broadcast interviews with Tara Gatewood for Native America Calling, and Rosanna Deerchild’s CBC Radio One Without Reservation. Midge aspires to be the Distinguished Writer in Residence for Seattle’s Space Needle and considers her contribution to humanity to be her sparkly personality.
Visit her website: https://tiffanymidge.wixsite.com/website
From Tiffany about her project
My collection of interrelated short stories The Urban NDN Women’s Guide to Dating features the complicated and often hilarious experiences of Lakota sisters Bernadette and Delores, and others in their orbit, as they navigate the urban Native landscape of hook ups, long term relationships, breakups, and reconciliations, marital strife and domestic tranquility. The Urban NDN Women’s Guide to Dating is my version of an NDN rom-com, which is noticeably missing from the Native Lit canon.
Quite often Native American writing features Native people as fatal, traumatized victims of colonization, and books about Native cultures are represented as mythical and mysterious peoples of the past. Native authors and books are described as “contemporary,” or “modern,” as if the default is a non-living and deceased, historical presence. The stats for Native people in the U.S. living off-rez, and in cities is around seventy percent, yet little of our literature reflects that.
I have been publishing my “NDN rom-coms” and my funny, irreverent, sassy Native fiction in various online lit journals and indie magazines for several years. I’ve marketed work in the indie publications because I wasn’t confident that larger venues would consider them as viable or credible expressions of a Native American experience.
Experiences that don’t follow the prescribed formulas and narratives, ones that are not much different from any other urban dweller, born and raised, but for whom stereotypes and clichés tend to proceed them. I’m eager to read Native books that don’t lead with trauma or tragedy, but ones that are entertaining and funny. As a great author once said, write the book you most want to read.
From Heather Cahoon
The Urban NDN Women’s Guide to Dating offers humorous cleverness and hilarious commentary on our human quirkiness. Its characters are raw and real—and really, really funny. While distinctly Native, both the characters and the writing of this book-in-progress help broaden and add nuance to the public’s oft-held, one-dimensional ideas about American Indians. Importantly, this manuscript shows us as contemporary people who also live off-reservation, people who struggle with their love lives, who take community art classes where they sketch nude models, and cook dinners of grilled portobello mushrooms and eggplant and quinoa with roasted slivered almonds and raspberry vinaigrette. Stereotype-busting aside, this work is highly entertaining and, simply put, a lot of fun to read.
Find more information about the Eliza So Fellowship, including posts from past winners, here. And be on the lookout for a blog from our 2020 Eliza So Fellowship Winner Tiffany Midge.