The Virginia G. Piper
Center for Creative Writing

Home / NEA Big Read Phoenix / NEA Big Read Partners / Emerging Diné Writers Institute
Logo for Emergine Diné Writers Institute

Emerging Diné Writers Institute

NEA Big Read Partner 2021

About Emerging Diné Writers Institute

In 2017, the Navajo Women’s Commission entered into a partnership with Navajo Technical University (NTU) to develop a creative writing summer program. The Commission set literacy as one of its organizational goals and chose to partner with NTU in recognition of their numerous creative writing programs including the Navajo Nation Poet Laureate program

Now, the Emerging Diné Writers’ Institute is funded by the Office of the President at NTU and various grants. 

EDWI aims to motivate and expose Diné high school and college students and community members to acclaimed Diné authors, writers, and local publishers. Participants improve their creative writing ability, work within various genres and forms, and foster an interest in our people to tell their own stories. 

EDWI is a week-long series of classes, craft talks, presentations, and generative writing sessions feature Diné writers such as Dr. Laura Tohe (Navajo Nation Poet Laureate), Jake Skeets (author of Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers and Diné College Faculty), Tanaya Winder (author of Words Like Love), and more. We also host visiting writers from partner institutions and programs.

About NEA Big Read

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. This event is presented as part the NEA Big Read: Phoenix, celebrating Indigenous literary arts and culture in the Valley with over 25 talks, workshops, performances, book clubs, art exhibits other virtual events inspired by The Round House by Louise Erdrich. NEA Big Read: Phoenix is presented by the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University with additional support from Arizona Humanities, Phoenix Public Library, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Humanities Division at ASU. Find events, meet our partners, and start reading today at

Support Indigenous Communities

The Phoenix Indian Center is the oldest American Indian non-profit organization of its kind in the United States, providing workforce development, cultural enrichment, and other vital services to Indigenous communities throughout the Valley for over 70 years. To support their work, visit their website at, click the donate button, enter an amount, and enter "NEA Big Read" in the description. Please consider making a gift to the Phoenix Indian Center today.

Make your gift