IAIA’s Truman Capote honorees

Aug 15th, 2012 | By | Category: 24-1: Communicating Yesterday's Stories Today, Tribal College News
By Jon Davis

“The Truman Capote Literary Trust Scholarship signifies that people are watching you,” says Paige Buffington, a junior majoring in creative writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA, Santa Fe, NM). She has just received her second Truman Capote Scholarship, and takes a break from working in the Creative Writing Studio at IAIA to talk about what the Truman Capote Scholarship means.

“Recognition becomes motivation,” she says. “I need to thank people for everything they’re teaching me. This is my opportunity to showcase home. Words are being read and, more important, felt. Someone is listening.”

That “someone” has been listening to IAIA students for sixteen years. Founded in 1995, the Truman Capote Literary Trust supports promising creative writing students at universities with quality writing programs. Since its founding, the Trust has provided more than $300,000 in scholarships to IAIA creative writing majors.

The scholarship winners are selected by full-time IAIA creative writing faculty: Department Chair Jon Davis, Evelina Lucero (Isleta Pueblo/Ohkay Owingay), and James Thomas Stevens (Akwesasne Mohawk). Students must have maintained a minimum 3.0 GPA, show promise of working in the writing field, and represent the program with integrity.

This year’s recipients of the $10,000 awards are Paige Buffington (Navajo), Monty Little (Diné), Sasha LaPointe (Coast Salish from the Nooksack tribe), and Byron Aspaas (Diné). Other recipients currently attending IAIA include Tyler Peyron (Tule River Yokut Tribe), Kateri Menominee (Bay Mills Tribe of Chippewa), Peterson Chee Brossy (Diné), Jamie Figueroa (Taino), and Anna Nelson (Seminole of Florida and Crow).

Twelve past Truman Capote scholars have gone on to complete graduate school. Among them, Capote scholars have published a dozen books and won numerous awards, including a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Wallace Stegner Fellowship to Stanford, a Lannan Foundation Literary Award, and two American Book Awards.

Capote was the author of such works as Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood, both of which were made into successful Hollywood movies. In all, more than twenty movies and television dramas have been produced from Capote’s writings. He died in 1984.

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