Paula Gunn Allen

The daughter of a Laguna Pueblo, Sioux and Scottish mother, and a Lebanese-American father, Paula Gunn Allen was raised in a small New Mexican village. A major Native American poet, writer, lecturer, and scholar, Allen has won many awards, including the American Book Award and the Susan Koppleman Award. She is the author of seven volumes of poetry, a novel, a collection of essays, two anthologies, and the well-received Spider Woman’s Granddaughters: Native American Women’s Traditional and Short Stories. Her book Pochahantas: Medicine Woman, Spy, Entrepreneur, Diplomat was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2004. Allen was the third recipient since 1964 to receive the MLA’s Hubbell Medal for Lifetime Achievement in American Literature.

Allen received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Oregon and a PhD in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Throughout her lifetime, she taught Literature, Creative Writing, and Native American Studies at various learning institutions, including the Ft. Lewis College in Colorado, University of New Mexico, San Diego State University, San Francisco State University, University of California Los Angeles, and University of California Berkeley. Paula passed away on May 29, 2008. Her voice has contributed to various fields such as Native American Studies, Women and Gender Studies, and Anthropology.

To learn more about Paula Gunn Allen’s work and life, visit her online memorial.

Author photo by Tama Rothschild

Sign up for our Quarterly Newsletter