N. Scott Momaday

Franklin Library N. Scott Momaday books

A House Made of Dawn - Library of Pulitzer Prize Classics - 1977

N. Scott Momaday biography

Navarre Scott Momaday, known as N. Scott Momaday, is a distinguished Native American author, poet, and scholar whose profound literary contributions have left an indelible mark on American literature and Indigenous culture. Born on February 27, 1934, in Lawton, Oklahoma, Momaday's life journey is a testament to the enduring power of storytelling and the preservation of cultural heritage. Momaday was born into the Kiowa tribe, with ancestral roots in the Kiowa and Cherokee nations. From a young age, he was immersed in the rich oral traditions and spiritual beliefs of his Indigenous heritage, which would later serve as a source of inspiration for his literary work.

After completing his undergraduate studies at the University of New Mexico, Momaday pursued graduate studies at Stanford University, where he earned a Ph.D. in English literature. His academic pursuits provided him with a deep understanding of Western literary traditions, which he would later juxtapose with Indigenous storytelling techniques in his own writing.

In 1968, Momaday burst onto the literary scene with the publication of his debut novel, House Made of Dawn. The novel, which drew upon Momaday's own experiences as a Native American growing up in the American Southwest, received widespread critical acclaim and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1969, making Momaday the first Native American to receive this prestigious award. House Made of Dawn is celebrated for its lyrical prose, evocative imagery, and poignant exploration of themes such as identity, cultural displacement, and the clash between tradition and modernity. The novel marked a watershed moment in Native American literature, elevating Indigenous voices to the forefront of American letters and inspiring a new generation of writers to explore their own cultural heritage. In addition to his work as a novelist, Momaday is also a celebrated poet, essayist, and visual artist. His poetry collections, including The Way to Rainy Mountain and In the Presence of the Sun, showcase his mastery of language and his deep connection to the natural world.

Throughout his career, Momaday has been a tireless advocate for Indigenous rights and cultural preservation. He has used his platform as a writer and scholar to raise awareness about the rich cultural traditions of Native peoples and to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about Indigenous life. In recognition of his literary achievements and cultural contributions, Momaday has received numerous awards and honors, including the National Medal of Arts and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Lifetime Achievement. His legacy as a writer and cultural luminary continues to inspire readers and writers alike, reaffirming the importance of storytelling as a means of preserving heritage and fostering understanding across cultures.

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