Kelli Jo Ford
“Very nearly all of my inspiration in writing and life comes from the women who raised me.”
Reflecting on life experiences as an Indigenous author, Kelli Jo Ford has created a vivid and compelling masterpiece in her novel-in-stories Crooked Hallelujah, which the New York Times dubbed “A more than promising first novel,” and TIME Magazine called “a love Letter celebrating the resilience of Indigenous communities.” The Minneapolis Star Tribune deemed Crooked Hallelujah “Stunning and lovable,” and Booklist raved that the book was “Electrifying...a riveting and important read.”
Set in both Cherokee Nation country in Oklahoma and Texas during the oil bust of the 1980s, Crooked Hallelujah tells the intertwined stories of Justine, a mixed-blood Cherokee woman, her daughter, Reney, her mother, Lula, and her grandmother, Granny. Using spare and specific prose, Ford describes their lives in rich detail as they face challenges brought by natural forces such as wildfires and tornadoes and the more subtle but equally terrifying threats from people that betray their trust.
Crooked Hallelujah was named one of 2020’s best books by NPR, TIME Magazine, Publisher's Weekly, and the Washington Post. It also received a New York Times Editor’s Choice designation, appeared on Oprah’s 50 best books for summer 2020, and named the Best Native Book of 2020 by the Tribal College Journal of American Indian Higher Education. It has been longlisted for the Carnegie Medal of Excellence in Fiction, the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut novel, the Center for Fiction’s 2020 First Novel Prize, and the Story Prize.