Writer Kelli Jo Ford on the Value of NACF Fellowship

Portrait of Kelli Jo Ford by Mario Gallucci, June 2017, Portland, Ore.
Portrait of Kelli Jo Ford by Mario Gallucci, June 2017, Portland, Ore.

Kelli Jo Ford (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma), a 2016 National Artist Fellow in Literature, was recently interviewed by Karly Placek of Profellow about her experience in NACF’s Fellowship program. Kelli gives insights into the value and impact of her Fellowship, as well as tips for future applicants.

Below is an excerpt; click here to read the full article on Profellow.

To learn more about Ms. Ford and her work, please visit her website.

2. What have you enjoyed most about your fellowship so far?

(Kelli Jo Ford): For a writer, time is everything, especially if you have young children. The fellowship provided me first and foremost with the funds to devote to childcare so that I could, in turn, devote several dedicated hours a week to writing. The fellowship also meant that I had the funds to attend the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Washington, D.C. this winter where I was on a panel on writing about class. Other things were made easier, such as attending an out of town reading that I gave. The costs of trips like that add up. The fellowship meant that those kinds of trips weren’t additional expenses. They were important parts of my work that were supported by NACF and furthered their goals as well to get working Native artists out into communities and amplify our voices.

They [the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation] also brought all of this year’s fellows to Portland in June for a convening. I could spend the next hour writing about what a powerful and inspiring few days that was. I won’t, but I will say that I left there feeling ready to work and so grateful to have been included in such a group of difference makers. We were all artists or writers of some kind, but there was so much more going on in those rooms. It reaffirmed my belief, that has been shaken of late to be honest, that art and true engagement has the power to change lives and even the world.

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