Stoking the Fire Wins Thomas J Lyon Award

Professor Kirby Brown's book, Stoking the Fire, won the 2019 Thomas J Lyon Award for best single-author monograph in Western Literary and Cultural Studies by the Western Literature Association.


"Kirby Brown's book is a tour de force work about sovereignty and its complications and possibilities, the "dark age" of Cherokee history in which ostensibly little of intellectual or literary import was going on, and the interweaving of these topics in a recovery project that meditates on the politics of nationhood and community in the present. Presenting an often brilliantly written mixture of archival research, historical narrative, literary analysis, and attention to diverse peoples, ideas, and politics within Cherokee writings, Brown shows how the idea of nationhood was alive, all along and against the odds, in extrapolitical spaces during this difficult period. The take aways - sovereignty's meanings, convolutions and limits, its rootedness in coloniality and settler patriarchies, and yet its possibilities - all of this provides a primer for thinking sovereignty anew in the now. Key to this work is the centering of women as figures of literary and intellectual history, stateswomen long neglected both in Cherokee and settler scholarship, and Brown's clear commitments to indigenous feminisms and critical sovereignty studies. As a text that speaks across fields of Western American Studies and Indigenous Studies, Stoking the Fire shows how rich the discuss of the Cherokee nation is on its own merits as well as how much it contributes to imagining very contemporary transnational kinship relations, place and regional studies, and forms of citizenship."

-  Western Literature Association Selection Committee