Image credit: Christopher Felver / Corbis

N. Scott Momaday’s journey began in Oklahoma, where he was born to Natachee Scott Momaday and Alfred Morris Momaday, a writer and a painter, respectively. Momaday’s father is
full-blood Kiowa, while his mother is English, Irish, French, and Cherokee, but Momaday identifies as Kiowa. About a year after Momaday was born, his family moved to Arizona to live
and teach on the reservation, and when he was 12 he moved to New Mexico to live with his grandparents.

After graduating high school, Momaday attended the University of New Mexico for his undergraduate and then Stanford for his M.A. and P.h.D. in English. He graduated in 1963, and
published his first novel in 1968, House Made of Dawn, which is now regarded as a classic. The book won the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and is credited with spurring the Native American
Renaissance. It also spurred the rest of his career. Momaday has published poetry, essays, novels, plays and children’s books. He is also a renowned scholar.

N. Scott Momaday is a very accomplished man. As well as earning a Pulitzer Prize, which is impressive enough on his own, he has taught either as a tenured or a temporary professor at the
University of Arizona, UC Berkeley, Columbia, Princeton, and Stanford. Similarly, he holds somewhere between 12 and 20 honorary degrees from universities around the nation, including Yale and the University of Michigan.

His achievements do not stop there — he has won many awards over his lifetime, notably the National Medal of Arts, given to him by George W. Bush for the celebration of Native
American life featured in his work. That being said, much of his work centers around his Kiowa heritage, the spirituality of his people, and the desire to be at one with nature.

Momaday is now 83 and teaching at the University of Arizona. His most recent work is Again the Far Morning: New and Selected Poems, which he published in 2011.


Video: N. Scott Momaday on Imagination and Language