Skip navigation

September 13, 2019

Kelli Jo Ford, Winner of 2019 Everett Southwest Literary Award

The University of Central Oklahoma Department of English is pleased to announce that contest judge Rob Roensch has chosen Kelli Jo Ford’s manuscript, “Crooked Hallelujah” as the winner of this year’s Everett Southwest Literary Award.

“Crooked Hallelujah” is about four generations of Cherokee women and was published by Grove Press after winning the Everett Award. It went on to be  A New York Times Editors’ Choice, an Indies Introduce, Indie Next, and LibraryReads Pick, and a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Rob Roensch had this to say about the winning manuscript: “As a collection, Crooked Hallelujah tells the vivid and enveloping story of the contentious relationships and unbreakable bonds between mothers and daughters across generations in the unforgiving landscape of rural Oklahoma and Texas. Each individual short-story is alive with fierce struggle and fierce love. It is an unforgettable work of art.”

Crooked Hallelujah has also appeared on the following lists:
Oprah Magazine’s Best Summer 2020 Books from Authors Around the World
Buzzfeed’s 14 Contemporary Books By Native American Writers To Get Excited About
BitchReads: 27 Novels Feminists Should Read in 2020
Ms. Magazine’s Reads for the Rest of Us: Feminist Books Coming Out in 2020
Electric Lit’s 56 Books By Women and Nonbinary Writers of Color to Read in 2020

In addition to her work as a freelance writer and editor, Kelli Jo Ford teaches fiction at Santa Fe’s Institute of American Indian Arts Low Residency MFA program.

Hybrid Vigor,” a story from Crooked Hallelujah, won The Paris Review’s 2019 Plimpton Prize. Ford has been awarded a National Artist Fellowship by the Native Arts & Cultures Foundation, an Elizabeth George Foundation Emerging Artist Grant, a Dobie Paisano Fellowship, and a Katharine Bakeless Nason Award in Fiction by the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. In 2016, she served as the Indigenous Writer-in-Residence at School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe. She received an MFA from George Mason University and is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma