crazy brave contest – a notice from joy harjo

A few weeks ago, Joy Harjo was having a contest open to everyone to send in their Crazy Brave stories to win a copy of her book of the same title and also a CD. Well, Joy Harjo is my literary indigenous hero and a chance to win a copy, I thought would be fantastic! So I entered a very personal story and something I do not share very often. Well, last week I got an email from Joy Harjo saying that I got a second place and will be receiving a copy in the mail. I am still over-joyed!

Here’s the email she sent out to all the winners:

“Dear Vera,

You are a second place winner in my Joy Harjo’s CRAZY BRAVE Contest.


Please send me your address so I can send your prize.
my best,
Joy Harjo

    I appreciate your patience in my CRAZY BRAVE contest, in honor of the paperback release a week ago from W. W. Norton. There were forty-five entries, national and international. I came to see that there are many ways to interpret the term: “crazy brave”. For some it was starting a relationship, having a dream or watching someone else triumph in a struggle. For others it was wrestling snakes, facing discrimination as a woman doing a man’s job, or being native fresh from a reservation community in an American university. Because of the diversity the other judge and I couldn’t easily decide on one winner in each category, so there are many more.

    Thank you everyone who entered. We appreciate the time you took to share your vignette, story, joke or dream.

     First prize is shared by Elton Naswood, for his story of healing as a Navajo man who was a victim of violent crime for being gay, and Lisa Alvarado for her story “Light Sleeper”, a tight, moving vignette about family violence, remembering from a child’s point of view. These two entries were by far the best conceptualized and written.

    In second place are Tommy Owen, Vera Wabegijig, Nancy Scott Fields and Maria Brunner Ventura. Tommy Owen works leading tours at the Everglades Adventure Tours. He specializes in Pole Boat Tours and kayak tours. He took down a ten-foot python as his tour group watched, to help save a delicate ecosystem. Vera Wabegijig made a stand for safety for her family. Nancy Scott Fields stood up against a known violent felon to protect a kitten. Maria Brunner Ventura defused a violent situation with a compassionate approach.

    Third place includes three entries. Susan Braine was hired to “man” a forest lookout in a time when women weren’t hired. Candice Falloon stopped to rescue a child who was being beaten and was in turn beaten for her courageous act. Elizabeth Diane Newell-Mack dropped out of high school, had a baby and found her way from beauty school to a MFA degree.

    Finally, there are four runner’s up. Garrett Boyd for his story honoring his brother, Julie M. Jacobson for her story of being a female, Indian bull rider, Nezbah Pete for her tale of leaving the heart of the reservation and its culture, to an almost all-white university, and Danny Robles for his praise poem for indigenous bravery.

The first place winners will receive a hard-back copy of CRAZY BRAVE, a copy of any of my other books I have on hand, and a CD of my original music. The second and third place winners will receive a hard-back copy of CRAZY BRAVE and a CD of my original music. The runners up will each receive a paperback copy of CRAZY BRAVE.

Winners, please FB message or email me your address. I would like to publish the first place winners on my FB page. If you are agreeable please include a line about it in your email.



Whoa!! Ever cool.


2 thoughts on “crazy brave contest – a notice from joy harjo

  1. Congratulations!!!! How exciting to receive this recognition from a writer whose work you admire so much and who has inspired you to keep writing!


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