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Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow awards 2021 Moondancer Fellowship to Kathleen McNamara

Updated: Jun 21, 2022

The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow is pleased to announce the winner of the 2021 “Moondancer” fellowship. Kathleen McNamara was selected from over forty applications received from writers across the U.S. The fellowship was open to poets, fiction writers, playwrights, essayists, columnists, memoirists, and screenwriters who expressed their love of nature and concern for the environment through their writing. Her writing proposal and work sample were selected by the judges as rating highest for literary merit and likelihood of publication. McNamara will receive a two-week residency at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow.

McNamara's short fiction and essays have appeared in Witness, Reed, The Columbia Journal, Nimrod, Redivider, Carolina Quarterly, The Pinch, and other journals. Her short story "Pyrosome" is forthcoming in the anthology This Side of the Divide (Vol. 2): New Myths of the American West, which will be published by Baobab Press in 2023. Her work has been honored with awards in the Carolina Quarterly, Redivider, and The Columbia Journal, and has been a finalist for the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction and the University of New Orleans Press Lab Prize, among other contests. She currently teaches writing at Arizona State University, where she is a 2021-2022 faculty fellow at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. Learn more at

McNamara will be a writer-in-residence at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow in December when she will work on a historical novel set in the American West in 1952. McNamara said, “Its primary narrative goal is to explore the personal and environmental effects of above-ground nuclear weapons detonations at the Nevada Proving Ground throughout the 1950s.” The Nevada Proving Ground legally belonged to the Shoshone people after the Treaty of Ruby Valley in 1863 and has been historically nicknamed “the most bombed location on earth.” Elaborating, McNamara said, “Although the timeline of the novel adheres to established historical facts, I categorize it as a work of historical fabulism, as I use magical/spiritual realism, anchored in ancestral loss of the worship of nature, to explore the events of history.” Research for this project has been supported by a 2020 grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, with funding from the Newton and Betty Rosenzweig Fund for the Arts.

Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow Executive Director, Michelle Hannon, said, “It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to provide a fellowship to a writer with so much talent and promise and to play a small part in the completion of such a fascinating, relevant project. I’m confident that she will find, as so many of our writers do, that when it comes to writing, time at Dairy Hollow is magical.” McNamara said, “I'm thrilled to have this opportunity. I'm so excited to experience Eureka Springs and to have so much uninterrupted time to write. As the mother of a 3-year-old, having this much space to devote to my novel manuscript is quite a luxury.”

For more information about sponsoring a fellowship in the genre and/or area of interest you are passionate about, visit

The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is “to nurture writers of all backgrounds, genres, and levels of experience in a supportive environment that builds community, stimulates new thinking, energizes creative expression, and optimizes productivity.” Since opening its doors to writers in 2000, the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow has made a lasting impact on the arts and literary communities hosting over 1,700 writers from 48 states and 13 countries. For more information, please visit or call Michelle Hannon at (479)253-7444.

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