Taos Summer Writers Conference Home

2013 Scholarship recipients:

D.H. Lawrence Fellow: Matthew Pitt
Hispanic Writer Award: Donna Gutierrez
Native Writer Award: Shauna Osborn
Taos Resident Award: Jan Smith
Leo Love Merit Scholarship in Poetry: Adam Crittenden
Leo Love Merit Scholarship in Prose: Christine Fadden

D.H. Lawrence Fellowship

Kristen-Paige Madonia
Matthew Pitt © 2010 by George Perina

Matthew Pitt is a native of St. Louis: yes, the city with the Gateway Arch; yes, the view is spectacular; no, he would not recommend visits by the claustrophobic. Arch asides aside, Matthew's first book of fiction, the short story collection ATTENTION PLEASE NOW, won the Autumn House Press Fiction Prize. It was also a Writers League of Texas Book Award finalist. For more info about the book, click the link on the right-hand column.

Matthew is a graduate of Hampshire College and New York University, where he was a New York Times fellow. His stories have appeared in such journals, magazines and anthologies as: Oxford American, The Southern Review, The Cincinnati Review, Colorado Review, New Letters, Epoch, Witness, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Harcourt'sBEST NEW AMERICAN VOICES. His work has been cited in the BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES, BEST AMERICAN NONREQUIRED READING, and PUSHCART PRIZE anthologies. His stories have won prizes from Inkwell (judged by Martha Cooley), the Salem College Center for Women Writers (judged by Ellen Gilchrist) and The Madison Review. Other wonderful organizations have provided wonderful grants: Mississippi Arts Commission, the Bronx Council on the Arts, the Santa Fe Writers Project (selected by Pagan Kennedy), and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Since leaving St. Louis, Matthew has paid rent in Amherst and Northampton, MA, Brooklyn and New York, NY, Austin, TX, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles, CA. He received security deposits back from every landlord. He can also say he’s held a number of jobs to pay those rent checks—some making for prouder mentions than others. A few gigs of note or infamy: writer’s assistant on a sitcom; book editor; portrayer of mascots, including a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle; member in good standing of the United Auto Workers (for a phone fundraising job); plasma donor.

He has written articles, essays, and reviews for Oxford American, Smithsonian, Poets & Writers, the National Book Foundation, The Rumpus, Food Network Magazine, and other publications. He has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences, and has taught creative writing at NYU, Penn State Altoona, Hendrix College, Bronx Writers’ Center, and Illinois College. Now in Fort Worth, Matt is an Assistant Professor at TCU, working on a novel and second collection.


Hispanic Writer Award

Donna Gutierrez
Donna Gutierrez

Donna Gutierrez grew up in the South Valley, back when traffic was sparse and the Rio Grande ran wild with water. Though they didn’t have much money, Donna’s parents made sure her childhood was rich with tradition, common sense, and something they were not lucky enough to get—education. Donna’s mother taught her to read Dick and Jane storybooks and Catholic Prayer books before she started first grade.  Though there wasn’t much money for paper and tablets, Donna’s earliest writings were on the old white Frigidaire in the kitchen. Donna would spend hours writing stories on the white finish of the refrigerator with a number 2 pencil. Once the refrigerator was full of writing, or if company dropped by, Donna’s mother would wipe the slate clean. Donna learned about editing and second drafts the hard way!
Donna was raised with a healthy respect for her New Mexico roots. Her family is from Chilili, New Mexico, one of the oldest settlements in North America. Her parents were raised on farms and ranches, where they worked hard cultivating the land.  Donna wrote her first serious story (on paper) in sixth grade. It was based on a horrific accident that nearly took Donna’s mother’s life.  When they were children, Donna’s Uncle accidentally struck his little sister with an axe while chopping wood. Donna wanted to capture the incident with images—her mother’s sapphire dress, the beautiful morning sky, and the harsh sound of wood splintering as a sharp axe fell.  This compelled her to try to create worlds that would live forever.
Once Donna set foot on University of New Mexico soil as a teenager, she never left, and it was a good thing she didn’t!  She met her future husband while working as a student in the IT-Central  Department.  At IT-Central, she helped pioneer technologies such as automated registration and self-service transcripts. Donna took some time off of writing to nurse her mother back to health from a serious illness, and when she started taking classes again, she discovered something running wild within her, just like the water in the Rio Grande. Her husband encouraged her to apply to graduate school, and once she was accepted to the MFA program at UNM, she took one or two classes each semester while she continued working at IT-Central.  Today, in addition to working on her dissertation, Donna’s writing experience includes technical writing, documentation,  and press releases in her new job at UNM’s New Media & Extended Learning. She loves all aspects of her job, and supporting people who support online learning every day!
Donna’s enthusiasm for learning carries on in the tradition set by her parents. She has shepherded her stepdaughter and several nieces and nephews through UNM and other institutions, where they have earned certificates, associate degrees, undergraduate degrees, and advanced degrees.  She is currently working on her own novel. It consists of three novellas that follow three women of the same family as they each learn to accept their lives with the loss of religion, children, and a lifelong dream of fame.


Native Writer Award

Cynthia Sylvester
Shauna Osborn - self-portrait

Shauna Osborn spent the earliest years of her life in Minco--a small, rural, town in Southwestern Oklahoma. Growing up in a place so dependent on the harvest season and livestock, she learned firsthand the power the natural world has on our survival as well as the necessity of a strong and cooperative community. A member of the Yapaituka or “Root Eater” band of the Comanche tribe, Shauna grew up in a multi-lingual family. Because of this, she often weaves Numu tekwapu (the Comanche language) as well as Spanish and German into her poetic work. She became the first person in her family to attend college in 1998 and earned her BA from the University of Oklahoma thereafter. She spent several years in Norman, Oklahoma tending to her studies and working within the local political, literary, and music scenes before moving to San Francisco, California. Not long after memorizing the BART system and finding all the local music stores in the Castro District with a surfboard carrying legal research team, she moved to New Mexico for graduate school.
After earning an MFA in Poetry from New Mexico State University in 2005, Shauna stayed in Las Cruces to work with local social justice organizations in the US/Mexico Border Region. She often talked with people who put MacGyver’s resourcefulness to shame. She then moved to the South Valley of Albuquerque three years ago, where Shauna currently works as an instructor, artist, wordsmith, and community organizer.  She has won various awards for her academic research, art, and poetry. Recently, she received a National Poetry Award from the New York Public Library. She is forever indebted to their social media coordinator for placing one of her winning poetry entries on their blog feed between a photo of David Tennant reading a library book and an announcement for a William Gibson reading, which simultaneously fueled her sense of accomplishment and nerd girl enthusiasm. Her creative work is available online in As Us, Go Read Your Lunch, Poets’ Quarterly, Poiesis, and Puerto Del Sol.  The publication of her poetry collection, Antes Taabe, is forthcoming.


Taos Resident Award

Sara Parrell
Jan Smith

After a thirty-year career as a psychotherapist in New England, Jan Smith moved to Taos in 2008 to become a writer. She has been the curator for the SOMOS Winter and Summer Writers series since October, 2009. She is currently an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at Goddard College and won an award in the short story contest at the annual SouthWest Writers contest in 2012.  She has published short stories and poems in Howl, the UNM journal, Chokecherries, and The Pitkin Review.  She is currently writing a coming-of- age-memoir, Blink Like Crazy. 


Leo Love Merit Scholarship in Poetry

Sara Parrell
Adam Crittenden © 2011 by Josh Hunt

Adam Crittenden holds an MFA in poetry from New Mexico State University where he was awarded an Academy of American Poets Prize. He also serves as an editor for Lingerpost, Puerto del Sol and Apostrophe Books. His work has appeared or will appear in Whiskey Island, Bayou Magazine, Metazen, Matter Press, > kill author, and several other journals. Currently, he teaches writing in Albuquerque.


Leo Love Merit Scholarship in Prose

Kim Bradkley
Christine Fadden

Christine Fadden is a graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. Her work appears or is forthcoming in the American Literary Review, Gulf Coast, Painted Bride Quarterly, The Louisville Review, PANK, Knee-Jerk Magazine, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the 2013 Blanchan Award through the Wyoming Arts Council, and lives—no joke—in a very small town called Story. Her novel-in-progress takes place in southern New Jersey and honors all things 1980—including that year’s World Series Champs, the Philadelphia Phillies.