Novelist Brandon Hobson and interdisciplinary artist Jessica Mehta, both enrolled citizens of the Cherokee Nation, are awarded Ucross residencies


August 12, 2021

Ucross, Wyoming (August 11, 2021)—Ucross, a prestigious artist residency program and creative laboratory for the arts, announced today its Fall 2021 Fellowships for Native American Visual Artists and Writers. The two awards represent Ucross’s commitment to supporting contemporary Native American art and voices.

Novelist Brandon Hobson lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where he is assistant professor of English at New Mexico State University. He also teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. Interdisciplinary artist Jessica Mehta, currently based in Exeter, England, is completing a PhD at the University of Exeter. She was recently awarded a 2021/2022 Fulbright U.S. Scholar award in Bangalore, India. Both Fellows are enrolled citizens of the Cherokee (Aniyunwiya) Nation.

Hobson and Mehta will each receive residencies that include uninterrupted time, studio space and living accommodations on Ucross’s 20,000-acre ranch at the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains. Each Fellow is awarded a $2,000 stipend, as well as opportunities to present their work publicly, at Ucross or elsewhere.

“We are honored to award our Native American Fellowships for Writers and Visual Artists to Brandon and Jessica,” said Ucross President and Executive Director Sharon Dynak. “These two accomplished artists have shown excellence and great dedication to their craft. We are thrilled to be able to support each of them with the gift of uninterrupted time, and to welcome them to Ucross this fall.”

Hobson’s most recent novel is “The Removed,” published to high praise earlier this year by Ecco Press. His previous novel, “Where the Dead Sit Talking,” was a finalist for the National Book Award, winner of the Reading the West Book Award and longlisted for the Dublin International Literary Award. He is also the author of “Desolation of Avenues Untold” and “Deep Ellum.” At Ucross, he plans to work on a book that will be published by Scholastic. His writing has won a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in many journals, including McSweeney’s and Conjunctions.

Mehta is the recipient of a 2021 GLEAN: Portland award, Regional Arts and Culture Council Make/Learn/Build award and is the upcoming poet in residence at Hugo House in Seattle. In 2020, she was a First Peoples Fund Artist in Business Fellow. She has two books releasing this year, “When We Talk of Stolen Sisters” (Not a Pipe Publishing) and “Antipodes” (New Rivers Press). Her work has been exhibited in numerous galleries, including Carnation Contemporary Gallery in Portland and the International Print Center in New York. While completing her PhD in Literature at the University of Exeter, she serves as a post-graduate researcher at the largest Victorian Centre in England, the first Native American to hold this position.


Located in northeast Wyoming in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains, Ucross fosters the creative spirit of deeply committed artists and groups by providing uninterrupted time, studio space, living accommodations, and the experience of the majestic High Plains, while serving as a responsible steward of its 20,000-acre ranch. Residencies are awarded to 100 artists each year. Ten artists are in residence at one time, typically a mix of four visual artists, four writers, and two composers.

Since its establishment in 1981, Ucross has provided more than 2,500 residencies to writers, visual artists, and composers, including such distinguished fellows as Annie Proulx, Terry Tempest Williams, Elizabeth Gilbert, Ann Patchett, Ricky Ian Gordon, Bill Morrison, Theaster Gates, Anthony Hernandez, and Tayari Jones. National Book Award winners Susan Choi, Sigrid Nunez, and Sarah M. Broom have been residents, as have Academy Award and Tony winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Emmy Award winner Billy Porter, recent Pulitzer Prize winners Michael R. Jackson and Colson Whitehead, and current United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo.

Ucross participates in a number of partnerships with national organizations that enhance its ability to support outstanding individual artists with residencies. National partners include the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction, the Whiting Foundation, the Ford Family Foundation, the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, the Alley Theatre, UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance, the Yale School of Drama and the Yale School of Music, the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, Cave Canem, and The Blank Theatre (Los Angeles). For further information, visit ucross.org.


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