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ADA – The annual Scissortail Creative Writing Festival returns to East Central University April 6-8, 2023, marking the 18th festival to take place.  

Three celebrated authors – Allison Amend, Major Jackson and Octavio Quintanilla – are the featured this year. The event is open and free to the public.

The Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, as always, features Oklahoma’s most prestigious high school creative writing competition, now in its 19th year. The annual Darryl Fisher Creative Writing Contest is open to all state high school students submitting poetry or short works of fiction. Awards for the state-wide competition will be announced on Saturday, April 8. Winners from the Undergraduate Contest will be presented Friday, April 7, at the Estep Multimedia Center.

The three-day festival attracts some of the best known and unknown writing talents from around Oklahoma and the country. More than 70 authors will be a part of the festival. The schedule and updates are available at

For more information on the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival or questions about group attendance, contact organizer Dr. Ken Hada at 580-559-5557 or via email at

Following are bios on the three featured writers. Full bios and other authors can be found at the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival Blog mentioned above.


Amend was born in Chicago on a day when the Cubs beat the Mets 2-0. She lived with a Spanish family in Barcelona for a year while in high school and later graduated from Stanford University with honors in Comparative Literature. Amend traveled back to Europe, living in Lyon, France, on a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship. At the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she received a Maytag and a Teaching/Writing Fellowship.

“Things That Pass for Love” (2008) was her debut short story collection and received a bronze Independent Publisher’s award. Her historical novel, “Stations West,” was published by Louisiana State university Press as part of its Yellow Shoe Fiction series in march 2010. That work was a finalist for the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and the Oklahoma Book Award. Her most recent novels are “A Nearly Perfect Copy” and “Enchanted Islands.”

Amend lives in New York City where she teaches creative writing at Lehman College in the Bronx and at the Red Earth Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Oklahoma City University.


Jackson is the author of five books of poetry, including “The Absurd Man” (2020), “Roll Deep” (2015), “Holding Company” (2010), “Hoops” (2006) and “Leaving Saturn” (2002). “Leaving Saturn” won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for a first book of poems. Edited volumes include “Best American Poetry 2019,” “Renga for Obama,” and Library of America’s “Countee Cullen: Collected Poems.”

He has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Insitute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Jackson has been awarded a Pushcart Prize, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and has been honored by the Pew Fellowship in the Arts, and the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress.

He has published poems and essays in “American Poetry Review,” “The New Yorker,” “Orion Magazine,” “Paris Review,” “Ploughshares,” “Poetry,” “Poetry London,” and “Zyzzva.”

Currently, he lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where he is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in the Humanities at Vanderbilt University. He serves as the Poetry Editor of “The Harvard Review.”


Quintanilla is the author of the poetry collection, “If I Go Missing” (2014) and served as the 2018-2020 Poet Laureate of San Antonio, Texas.  His poetry, fiction, translations, and photography have appeared, or are forthcoming, in journals such as “The Southampton Review,” “Salamander,” “RHINO,” “Alaska Quarterly Review,” “Pilgrimage,” “Green Mountains Review,” “Southwestern American Literature,” “The Texas Observer,” and “Existere: A Journal of Art & Literature.” His Frontextos (visual poems) have been published in “Poetry Northwest,” “Texas Review Press,” “Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review,” “Midway Journal,” “The Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas,” and elsewhere.    

Octavio’s visual work has been exhibited in numerous art spaces, including, Southwest School of Art, Presa House Gallery, Brownsville Museum of Fine Art, and Equinox Gallery. He is the recipient of the Nebrija Creadores Scholarship, consisting of a month-long residency at the Instituto Franklin at Alcalá University in Alcalá de Henares, Spain. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Texas and is the regional editor for “Texas Books in Review.”  Octavio teaches Literature and Creative Writing in the Master of Art/Master of Fine Art program at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas.  

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