BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)– For as long as he can remember, Dr. N. Scott Momaday has been passionate about telling stories.
“I’m deeply dedicated to language and words and so storytelling comes naturally to me. I come from a very rich oral history of storytelling and so stories are very important to me. It may be one of the most important things in my life,” Momaday said.
That love for telling tales passed down by his father led Momaday to write a series of works centered on his Kiowa heritage, one of which garnered him a Pulitzer Prize in 1969.
The Native American author is in the Queen City to discuss his award winning novel “House Made of Dawn” for Just Buffalo Literary Center’s BABEL lecture series at Kleinhans Music Hall.
“We bring four of the world’s most important authors to Buffalo every year, and we’ve brought Nobel Prize winners, Pulitzer Prize winners, Poet Laureates, some of the most important writers of out time, and Dr. Momaday definitely fits in that category,” said Barbara Cole, Just Buffalo’s artistic director.
Momaday, whose work is widely considered to have launched the Native American Renaissance, was awarded a National Medal of Arts in 2007 and this year, will receive the Ken Burns American Heritage Prize. The literary legend told many tales at the event and talked about the importance of the oral narrative.
“It’s very fragile. It’s only one generation from extinction. As rich as it is, it loses part of it’s content day by day, but it has some aspects that are stronger than writing so it’s very vital ,” Momaday said.
The next author in the BABEL series is American Book Award winner Valeria Luiselli. Visit JustBuffalo.Org for more information.