Taos Summer Writers Conference Home

2014 Scholarship recipients:

D.H. Lawrence Fellow: Arna Bontemps Hemenway
Hispanic Writer Award: Elaine Manzanilla
Native Writer Award: Matthew Jake Skeets
Taos Resident Award: Kate Crawford
Leo Love Merit Scholarship in Poetry: Monika Cassel
Leo Love Merit Scholarship in Prose: Julia Thacker

D.H. Lawrence Fellowship

D H Lawrence Fellow
Arna Bontemps Hemenway

Arna Bontemps Hemenway is the author of Elegy on Kinderklavier (Sarabande 2014), which was recently named a Barnes and Noble Discover Award Series pick. His fiction has appeared in A Public Space, Alaska Quarterly Review, Ecotone, FiveChapters, and The Missouri Review, among other venues. He has been the recipient of the Truman Capote Fellowship for Fiction Writing, the John C. Schupes Fellowship for Fiction Writing, and, at the Sewanee Writers' Conference, has served as the Peter Taylor Scholar of Fiction Writing. Later this summer he will be a Fiction Fellow at the Bread Loaf Writing Conference. He holds an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and is currently Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Baylor University.


Hispanic Writer Award

Hispanic Writer Awardee
Elaine Manzanilla

Elaine Manzanilla was born in Sacramento and raised in the Bay Area, San Jose to be specific. After raising her children, and being sole caretaker for her grandmother in the foothills of Northern California, Elaine returned to school and fell in love with science. That love for science and research led her to New Mexico as a Biomedical Science graduate student at UNM’s Health Science Center. After a short period of adjustment to living in the high desert of New Mexico, Elaine now considers herself a New Mexican and embraces the diverse culture and scenery that New Mexico provides. As a result of her unique familial background – her father is from Guayamas, Mexico and her mother is of German/English ancestors who came to America before the Revolutionary War – Elaine understands the challenges of living in the world today as a multi-ethnic, multicultural woman. She is proud of her heritage, of the hardworking stoicism from her European ancestors, and the passion and ability to express emotions from her Mexican ancestors. The melding of these strong characteristics and her strong faith not only strengthen her, but inspire her to share with others through the fluid imagery of the written word.


Native Writer Award

Native Writer Awardee
Matthew Jake Skeets

Matthew Jake Skeets is Black-Streak-Wood, born for Water's Edge. He is Navajo from Vanderwagen, New Mexico on the Navajo Indian reservation. He recently graduated summa cum laude from the University of New Mexico with two Bachelor of Art degrees in poetry and Native studies. Matthew is currently a communications and social media intern for Americans for Indian Opportunity in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He plans to relocate to Tempe, Arizona in the fall to pursue work and experience before graduate schools.
Matthew has worked closely with poets Luci Tapahonso, Lisa Chavez and Natalie Scenters-Zapico during his undergraduate career at UNM. His poetry has appeared in the Gallup Journey, Conceptions Southwest, 200NewMexicoPoems, and Red Ink Magazine. Further, Matthew was a featured poet at the East of Edith reading series in 2012 hosted by the Local Poets Guild in Albuquerque. On his work, Matthew notes that his poetry often interrogates the lines between tradition, modernity and the self in Navajo culture. His employment of Diné creation narratives and sexuality in poetry is, in a way, an ode to the beauty, holiness and agency of the Navajo body. 


Taos Resident Award

Taos Resident Awardee
Kate Crawford

Long before it occurred to Kate Crawford to be a writer, she wielded her pen with panache—calling first for political action and then appealing to travelers to visit her New Hampshire inn. In 2002, a travel essay of Kate's was awarded an around-the-world plane ticket and it launched her writing career. Her stories have appeared in Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe and the Best Travel Writing of 2012. Her work also appears in Travelers' Tales anthologies, guidebooks and on the web.
Corn-fed and Illinois-bred, Kate misspent her youth from Boston to Beijing and is attempting to misspend her sixties in Taos. Her current inamorato is her memoir-in-progress: Second Coming: Pursuit of a Sexy Sixties.


Leo Love Merit Scholarship in Poetry

Leo Love Poetry Awardee
Monika Cassel - photo Jamey Stillings

Monika Cassel was raised bilingual in English and German; she received her BA in Comparative Literature from Princeton University and her PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Michigan. She is the English department chair at New Mexico School for the Arts, a statewide public arts high school in Santa Fe, where she teaches American literature and poetry. With the support of the Lannan Foundation, she has developed a successful creative writing minor at the school and plans to launch a creative writing major there in 2016. She is working on a manuscript of poems on her German family's WWII history; her translations of the poet Durs Grünbein are forthcoming in Asymptote and Structo Magazine and she has poetry forthcoming in Sixfold.


Leo Love Merit Scholarship in Prose

Leo Love Prose Awardee
Julia Thacker

Julia Thacker lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  She first came to Massachusetts as a writing fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. The work she produced there was subsequently awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant and a Bunting fellowship at Radcliffe. The granddaughter of a Harlan County coal miner, Julia sets much of her fiction against the backdrop of a vanishing Appalachian culture. Her stories and poems have been published in Antaeus, The Boston Globe Magazine, The Massachusetts Review, New Directions, The North American Review, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. An excerpt from her novel-in-progress, The Funeral of the Man Who Wasn't Dead Yet, appeared in AGNI, where it won the John Cheever Award for Short Fiction. She holds a Master of Arts from Brown University. She is excited to attend the Taos Summer Writing Conference for the first time, and to meet with other writers in this beautiful and historic artists colony.