July 28, 2022

Oscar Hokeah

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes short story author OSCAR HOKEAH—citizen of Cherokee Nation and the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma—for a discussion of his debut novel Calling for a Blanket Dance: A Novel. He will be joined in conversation by GABRIEL BUMP—award-winning author of Everywhere You Don’t Belong.

Details

Told in a series of voices, Calling for a Blanket Dance takes us into the life of Ever Geimausaddle through the multigenerational perspectives of his family as they face myriad obstacles. His father’s injury at the hands of corrupt police, his mother's struggle to hold on to her job and care for her husband, the constant resettlement of the family, and the legacy of centuries of injustice all intensify Ever’s bottled-up rage. Meanwhile, all of Ever’s relatives have ideas about who he is and who he should be. His Cherokee grandmother urges the family to move across Oklahoma to find security; his grandfather hopes to reunite him with his heritage through traditional gourd dances; his Kiowa cousin reminds him that he’s connected to an ancestral past. And once an adult, Ever must take the strength given to him by his relatives to save not only himself but also the next generation of family.

How will this young man visualize a place for himself when the world hasn’t given him a place to start with? Honest, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting, Calling for a Blanket Dance is the story of how Ever Geimausaddle found his way to home.

About Author(s)

Oscar Hokeah is a citizen of Cherokee Nation and the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma from his mother's side and has Mexican heritage through his father. He holds an MA in English with a concentration in Native American Literature from the University of Oklahoma, as well as a BFA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), with a minor in Indigenous Liberal Studies. His short stories have been published in South Dakota Review, American Short Fiction, Yellow Medicine Review, Surreal South, and Red Ink Magazine. He works with Indian Child Welfare in Tahlequah.

Gabriel Bump grew up in South Shore, Chicago. His nonfiction and fiction have appeared in Slam magazine, the Huffington Post, Springhouse Journal, and other publications. He was awarded the 2016 Deborah Slosberg Memorial Award for Fiction and the 2020 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. He received his MFA in fiction from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His first novel, Everywhere You Don’t Belong, was a New York Times Notable Book. He lives in Buffalo, New York.