McNamara receives Moondancer Fellowship

Thursday, July 8, 2021

The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow is pleased to announce that Kathleen McNamara is the winner of the 2021 Moondancer Fellowship.

Kathleen McNamara

McNamara was selected from more than 40 applicants across the country. The fellowship was open to poets, fiction writers, playwrights, essayists, columnists, memoirists and screenwriters who express their love of nature and concern for the environment through writing.

Her writing proposal and work sample were selected by the judges, rating the highest for literary merit and likelihood of publication. McNamara will receive a two-week residency at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow.

McNamara’s short fiction and essays have appeared in Witness, Reed, The Columbia Journal, Nimrod, Redivider, Carolina Quarterly, The Pinch and other journals. Her short story Pyrosome is forthcoming in the anthology This Side of the Divide (Vol. 2): New Myths of the American West, which will be published by Baobab Press in 2023.

Her work has been honored with awards in the Carolina Quarterly, Redivider and The Columbia Journal and she has been a finalist for the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction and the University of New Orleans Press Lab Prize, among other contests.

She currently teaches writing at Arizona State University, where she is a 2021-2022 faculty fellow at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing.

McNamara will be a writer-in-residence at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow in December when she will work on a historical novel set in the American West in 1952.

“Its primary narrative goal is to explore the personal and environmental effects of above-ground nuclear weapons denotations at the Nevada Proving Ground throughout the 1950s,” McNamara said.

The Nevada Proving Ground legally belonged to the Shoshone people after the Treaty of Ruby Valley in 1863 and has been historically called “the most bombed location on earth.”

“Although the timeline of the novel adheres to established historical facts, I categorize it as a work of historical fabulist, as I use magical and spiritual realism anchored in ancestral loss of the worship of nature to explore the events of history,” McNamara said.

Research for this project is supported by a 2020 grant form the Arizona Commission on the Arts, with funding from the Newton and Betty Rosenzweig Fund for the Arts.

“It’s an honor and privilege to provide a fellowship to a writer with so much talent and promise and to play a small part in the completion of such a fascinating, relevant project,” said Writers’ Colony executive director Michelle Hannon. “I’m confident that she will find, as so many of our writers do, that when it comes to writing, time at Dairy Hollow is magical.”

McNamara said she’s thrilled to have the opportunity to write at the Writers’ Colony.

“I’m so excited to experience Eureka Springs and have so much uninterrupted time to write,” McNamara said. “As the mother of a 3-year-old, having this much space to devote to my novel manuscript is quite a luxury.”

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