Directors and Speaker
John Purdy, Director
John Purdy began his experiences with Native fiction in the 1970s. He studied with Montana Walking Bull—an American Indian scholar, educator and writer. His first critical study was Word Ways: The Novels of D’Arcy McNickle and his most recent is Writing Indian, Native Conversations in which he has interviews with Paula Gunn Allen, Simon Ortiz, Louis Owens, Gerald Vizenor, and Sherman Alexie. Moreover, his own first novel, Riding Shotgun into the Promised Land, was published in 2011.
In 2001, he won the “Writer of the Year” Award from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers for his book, Nothing But the Truth: An Anthology of Native American Literatures from Prentice Hall. He has published several articles on the three other core novelists as well. His most recent endeavor was the creation of an online magazine of works by Native authors, Native Literatures: Generations designed to showcase “new” authors alongside established writers, and to generate funds to help support authors with grants and awards.
John has taught on several reservations, including courses on the Warm Springs Reservation for students who were training to become teachers, and others who were training to become creative writers, and later on the Lummi Reservation. He has also offered numerous undergraduate and graduate seminars, both here and abroad, on Native literatures.
For seven years, he edited Studies in American Indian Literatures, a scholarly quarterly and currently the only journal devoted solely to this area of study. He has served on the Advisory Board for the journal Profession for the Modern Language Association and for four years he edited The American Review of Canadian Studies.