LeAnne Howe, Eidson Distinguished Professor at the University of Georgia, connects literature, Indigenous knowledge, Native histories, and expressive cultures in her work. Her interests include Native and indigenous literatures, performance studies, film, and Indigeneity.
Howe's monograph Savage Conversations, 2019, Coffee House Press, set in 1875, is the story of Mary Todd Lincoln and a Savage Indian ghost that Mary claimed was torturing her nightly. As a result of her ravings, Mary was tried by an Illinois court and confined to an insane asylum at Batavia, Illinois. Recent performances of Savage Conversations with actors Marla Carlson, (UGA theater) Nic Billey, (Choctaw) and Nora Cole were performed on Govenors Island, NYC in September 2022.
Howe and Irish playwright Colm Summers' play The Keening is set to be performed in November 2022 at the Irish Cultural Centre in NYC. The play set in Indian Territory, and Famine Ireland, and present-day New York. The three act play begins with Aoife, mourning the death of another child from starvation in Ireland. Kinta, a Choctaw in Indian Territory hears Aoife's keening and responds with a Choctaw mourning song. The story time travels to modern NYC and centers around the eviction of a Choctaw mother and grandmother from their apartment in NYC. A U.S Marshall named Pat, an Irishman, has been sent to evict them. The first reading was held at the new Irish Arts Center in NYC, August 2021.
LeAnne began work on a new musical with writer Nathan Dixon. Star Panther and the Gold Digger, The Musical. The story is set in 1540 with Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto, and The Lady of Cofitachequi, the Southeastern Native woman he put into chains as soon as he met her. The cast sings and dances their way through conflict and mayhem until the Natives have had enough, and the rest is history. . . .
Howe co-authored Famine Pots, The Choctaw-Irish Gift Exchange 1847-Present (2020), MSU Press, with Padraig Kirwan, Goldsmiths of London. In 2022, they were awarded the Gourmand World Cookbook special award, presented in Sweden at the annual conference. Famine Pots is the story of the Choctaw people's gift to the Irish in 1847 for famine relief. Introductions in the book by Ireland's President Michael D. Higgins, and Choctaw Chief of the Choctaw Nation Gary Batton. Currently Kirwan and Howe are at work on a second book, Famine Pots II that focuses on the children of Irish Potato Famine, and the children of 1830s Choctaw removal from Mississippi.
In 2020, the Norton anthology, When the Light of the World Was Subdued Our Songs Came Through, A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry was published. Joy Harjo, U.S. Poet Laureate is Executive Editor, Howe, Executive Associate editor, and Managing Editor is Jennifer Elise Forester. The landmark anthology covers two centuries of Native poetry and includes 160 Native poets.
Howe co-produced with James M. Fortier a new documentary film, Searching for Sequoyah that aired nationally in November, 2021. The story centers on the life and disappearance of Sequoyah, creator of the Cherokee syllabary. The 56 minute documentary was released in fall 2021, and given a Telly award for best documentary in 2022. For more information see searchingforsequoyah.com.
LeAnne Howe (Choctaw) is the recipient of a United States Artists (USA) Ford Fellowship, Lifetime Achievement Award by the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas, American Book Award, Oklahoma Book Award, and she was a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar to Jordan. In October 2015, Howe received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western Literature Association, (WLA); and in 2014 she received the Modern Languages Association inaugural prize for Studies in Native American Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, for her short story collection, Choctalking on Other Realities. I Fuck Up In Japan, a story from the collection has been reprinted in many journals.
Howe received an MFA from Vermont College, (2000) and shares a Native and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) award for literary criticism with eleven other scholars for Reasoning Together: The Native Critics Collective, named one of the ten most influential books of the first decade of the twenty-first century for indigenous scholarship, 2011. She’s lectured nationally and internationally giving the Richard Hoggart Series lecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, UK, and the Keynes Lecture at the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK among others. In 1993 she lectured throughout Japan as an American Indian representative during the United Nations “International Year of Indigenous People.”
Other books by Howe include, Shell Shaker, 2001, (American Book award) Evidence of Red, 2005, (Oklahoma Book Award), Miko Kings: An Indian Baseball Story, 2007, and Choctalking on Other Realities, 2013.
She's co-edited a book of essays on Native films with Harvey Markowitz, and Denise K. Cummings titled, Seeing Red, Pixeled Skins: American Indians and Film, 2013. In 2014, a special issue of Studies of American Indian Literature, SAIL, Vol. 26, Number 2, Summer, was published and is an exploration by six scholars on Howe's literary concept of Tribalography.
Links to recent work: https://soundcloud.com/about-south/s01-episode-06-its-about-story
“Aunt Lute Books” http://auntlute.com/
“United States Artists Fellows 2012,” http://www.usafellows.org/
and Superstition Review’s interview http://superstitionreview.asu.edu/issue12/interviews/leannehowe
NB: Professor Howe's courses are listed under the name "Izola Wilson" in Athena.