Award Winners / Artist Profile

About the Artist

Casandra Lopez is a Chicana and California Indian writer and teacher (Cahuilla/Tongva/Luiseño). Half-way through her MFA (Fiction), she witnessed her brother’s murder prompting her to begin writing poetry. Her poetry collection, Brother Bullet is forthcoming from University of Arizona. She has received support from Tin House, Bread Loaf, Storyknife and Hedgebrook.

As a multi-genre writer her work explores the intersection of identity and diaspora as they relate to trauma and grief. Her memoir A Few Notes on Grief draws upon personal experience and research. This multi-genre project uses fragments to create a collage form that intends to speak to the ruptures that are often caused by trauma and is an attempt to map out a path toward healing.

She believes strongly in supporting other writers of color and co-founded the literary journal, As/Us: A Space For Writers of The World. She teaches on the Lummi reservation at Northwest Indian College.


Since witnessing my brother’s murder I’ve been compelled to write about my experience and the cycle of violence that is prevalent in San Bernardino, my hometown. I explore what does it mean when one Indigenous man murders another and if there can be justice. This grant will assist in the completion of my memoir, A Few Notes on Grief, a multi-genre project that includes, essays, poems, along with responses to various historical and government texts such as my brother’s death certificate. I began by writing about my immediate experiences with violence, but through this process, I was prompted to further research historical trauma. These responses will be interspersed throughout the manuscript to provide a thread that links my present experience as an Indigenous woman with the violence of colonialism.

Information included above was provided by artist at the time of application.
From the Artist

I am very grateful to have had my work selected for this award. This project is more challenging and time consuming then I originally expected, but it also incredibly important to me. Having the resources to complete this project is a great gift. Being an artist comes with a lot of rejection and I have had my share, but it still means a lot when others recognize the potential in my work.

Casandra Lopez