IAIA Announces New Sherman Alexie Scholarship in Creative Writing

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Alexie grew up in Wellpinit, Washington, on the Spokane Indian Reservation. He now lives in Seattle with his family.

The Institute of American Indian Arts’ (IAIA) Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program is offering the first annual Sherman Alexie Scholarship to a student who applies and enrolls in the program. The scholarship will pay $7,500 per semester for four semesters, for a total of $30,000—$24,000 of which will be applied to tuition. The remaining $6,000 will help pay for travel, lodging, books, and meals during the five residencies in Santa Fe. 

All applicants to IAIA’s MFA in creative writing who are enrolled members of a Native American tribe or First Nation are eligible. Proof of enrollment will be required. To apply for the scholarship, complete an application to the IAIA MFA program. The creative writing sample submitted with the application will be the competition entry. Applicants should pay close attention to the page limits; additional pages over the limit will not be read.

IAIA’s Native MFA faculty will conduct the initial screening of entries. The final selection will be made by Sherman Alexie. The judging will be blind; all names will be removed from the writing samples.

Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction, a PEN/Hemingway Citation for Best First Fiction, and the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, Sherman Alexie (Spokane/Cour d’Alene) is a poet, short story writer, novelist, and performer who serves as program consultant and workshop leader for the IAIA MFA program.

He has published 26 books, including his soon to be released memoir, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me. Other works include the picture book, Thunder Boy Jr, and the young adult novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, all from Little, Brown Books; What I’ve Stolen, What I’ve Earned, a book of poetry, from Hanging Loose Press; and Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories, from Grove Press. Smoke Signals, the movie he wrote and co-produced, won the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival.

“Sherman Alexie has been deeply involved with the MFA program since its inception,” says Jon Davis, director of the IAIA MFA Program. “This scholarship is a natural next step and a terrific opportunity for a Native student writer.”


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