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The Deep Roots: Oklahoma Authors Oral History Project, a project of the Oklahoma Oral History Research Program, at the Oklahoma State University Library, documents the first-person perspectives of authors with Oklahoma ties. The title of the project is based on an N. Scott Momaday quote, when he was honored as an Oklahoma Legend by Oklahoma State University-Tulsa and noted, “I live here in my spiritual life. I have deep roots in this Oklahoma soil. It makes me proud.”

The goal of Deep Roots is to tell the stories of often underrepresented Oklahoma authors and to make those stories easily accessible to scholars, the general public, and to teachers and students across Oklahoma and the world. The project lead Dr. Emily Blackshear  interviews poets, essayists, memoirists, novelists (all genres), short story writers, journalists, and playwrights to highlight what these writers have to say about their lives, their work, their creative processes, and their relationship to Oklahoma itself.

While the project began in 2017, interviews are ongoing, as is the transcription and public access process. As this process is completed, interviews will be added to the OSU Library’s digital collections site: https://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/authors

We are grateful for the generosity of The Kerr Foundation, Inc. and more than 100 individual donors who helped make this project possible. Thank you for your support.

Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame

The Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame was established in 1991 to honor Oklahoma writers who have made major contributions to American literature while living and writing in Oklahoma. Initiated by Joye Swain, it was later directed by Teresa Miller, founder and long-time director of  The Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa. Upon her retirement from OSU-Tulsa in 2015, Miller entrusted the Hall of Fame to the Center for Oklahoma Studies and the OSU Library, where its legacy lives on.

The Oklahoma Oral History Research Program is one of the founding units of the Center for Oklahoma Studies, and the OOHRP’s “Deep Roots” project has close affinities with the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame. Both celebrate the state’s authors and their broader contributions to literary culture, and we hope that synergy will enhance both efforts in the years to come.

Inductees to the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame:

2019: Teresa Miller

2014: Joy Harjo

2013: Anna Myers

2011-2012: P.C. Cast

2009-2010: Joyce Carol Thomas

2007-2008: N. Scott Momaday

2005-2006: Jim Lehrer

2003-2004: Rilla Askew

2001-2002: Jay Cronley

2000: Clifton Taulbert

1999: Billie Letts

1998: S.E. Hinton

1997: William Bernhardt, Darcy O’Brien, Rennard Strickland

1995-1996: Robert Conley, Georgina Gentry, Mel Odom, Dian Curtis Regan, Michael Wallis

1994: Deborah Chester, Connie Feddersen, Bessie Holland Heck, Judith Henry Wall

1993: Carolyn G. Hart, George E. Stanley, Robert Trevathan

1992: Jack M. Bickham, Deborah Camp, Jean Hager, Glenn Shirley

1991: C.J. Cherryh, Robert Duncan, Marilyn Harris, Harold Keith, Sara Orwig, Dwight V. Swain

In Memoriam: John Berryman, Angie Debo, Ralph Ellison, John Hope Franklin, R.A. Lafferty, Doug Mariette, Lynn Riggs, Sequoyah, Woody Guthrie

About the OOHRP

About the OOHRP:

The Oklahoma Oral History Research Program (OOHRP) of the Oklahoma State University Library is committed to documenting and making accessible to the public the history and cultures of Oklahoma and its people. Find out more about the 1,000+ interviews conducted since the program was founded in 2007 by visiting the OSU digital collection catalog

About the project lead:

Dr. Emily Blackshear directs the Deep Roots: Oklahoma Authors Oral History Project for the Oral History Research Program at the Oklahoma State University Library and serves as an interviewer for other oral history projects including the Inductees of the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame and the Spotlighting Oklahoma series. Emily produces and co-hosts the Dear Oklahoma podcast, a collaboration with KOSU radio and the Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa. She publishes poetry occasionally and also works as food editor for The New Territory Magazine.

Dear Oklahoma

Dear Oklahoma, a new monthly podcast brought to you by the Oklahoma Oral History Research Program at the OSU Library, the Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa, and KOSU radio features writers who engage Oklahoma themes in their works.

Listen to Dear Oklahoma:

iTunes

TuneIn

Stitcher 

Episode 0
Dear Oklahoma

In this episode, Emily and Lindsey chat with Kelly Burley from KOSU radio about the premise for the show, its mission, and the upcoming season. Emily and Lindsey explain how they ended up covering the Oklahoma Teacher’s Walkout in 2018 and reflect on what it means to inspire the next generation of Oklahoma writers. 

Click the link below and take a listen. 

Dear Oklahoma
Episode 1
Deborah J. Hunter

In this episode, poet and actor Deborah J. Hunter reads two poems based on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre that she wrote and performed in Tara Brooke Watkins’ play, “Tulsa 21: Black Wall Street.” Lindsey and Emily talk to Deborah about what it means to confront this violent and hidden moment of Oklahoma’s history through poetry. 

Click the link below and take a listen.

Dear Oklahoma
Episode 2
Brandon Hobson

In this episode, National Book Award finalist Brandon Hobson reads from his new novel-in-progress, Terlingua, live at Soul City Gastropub in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Brandon chats with Lindsey and Emily about his reasons for setting stories in small-town Oklahoma and discusses his explorations of Native identity and gender in his works.

Click the link below and take a listen. 

Dear Oklahoma
Episode 3
Kate Strum

In this episode, Kate Strum reads her Pushcart Prize-nominated essay, “Spiritual Affliction: A Thank You Note to Oklahoma.” Lindsey and Emily talk to Kate about the meaning of home, why the poetry of Simon Ortiz matters, and the occasional hazards of telling neighbors that you’re a writer. 

Click the link below and take a listen.

Episode 4
Clem Heard

In this episode, poet Clem Heard, a 2018 Tulsa Artist Fellow for the Literary Arts, reads a piece he created especially for our podcast. Clem, a New Orleans native, talks to Lindsey and Emily about food and poetry, finding balance in one’s writing life, and the advice he has for those who are getting to know Oklahoma.   

Click the link below and take a listen.

Episode 5
Hannibal Johnson

In this episode, author Hannibal Johnson shares a poem and an essay that addresses what’s necessary to improve Oklahoma’s relationship with diversity and inclusion. Hannibal talks to Lindsey and Emily about our shared humanity, the power of asking “what if,” and he emphasizes the importance of making people feel valued and respected. 

Click the link below and take a listen.

Episode 6
Dinah Cox

In this episode, we’ll hear Dinah Cox, author of the award-winning short fiction collection Remarkable (BOA editions), read a story about Ross and Harriet, who find love, sort of, in “The Old-Fashioned Way.” Dinah gives Lindsey and Emily her take on writing Oklahoma stories, creating characters with an ‘Oklahoma neighbor voice,’ and putting small town strife to good use in her fiction.    

Click the link below and take a listen.

Episode 7
Chris Murphy

In this episode, fiction author Chris Murphy shares a piece called, “An Annual Report of the Seasons,” that is both moving and timely. Chris, a native of the Boston area, gives Lindsey and Emily his impressions of the Oklahoma weather, explains why he loves firefly season in Tahlequah, and mentions that he likes writing late at night with the window open (weather permitting, of course).  

Click the link below and take a listen.

Episode 8
John Andrews

Poet John Andrews, author of Colin Is Changing His Name (Sibling Rivalry Press) and a 2018 Oklahoma Book Award finalist, reads a poem he created for our podcast and tells us the reason he stays in Oklahoma. John chats with Lindsey and Emily about his experiences as a gay man in Oklahoma and shares how he reconnected with the man who would become his husband after moving to Stillwater.

Click the link below and take a listen.

Episode 9
Teresa Miller

In this live episode, we celebrate Teresa Miller’s induction into the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame. This induction ceremony features a conversation with Rilla Askew and Teresa Miller. Special guest P.C. Cast, who is a number one New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, introduces Rilla and Teresa and explains why Teresa has been instrumental to her successful writing career.

Click on the link below and take a listen.

Dear Oklahoma

Contact

Oklahoma Oral History Research Program
207 Edmon Low Library
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-7685
liboh@okstate.edu