About Elissa


Error message

Deprecated function: The each() function is deprecated. This message will be suppressed on further calls in menu_set_active_trail() (line 2405 of /home/washuta8/public_html/includes/menu.inc).

A standard bio

Elissa Washuta is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and a nonfiction writer. She is the author of Starvation Mode and My Body Is a Book of Rules, named a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. With Theresa Warburton, she is co-editor of the anthology Shapes of Native Nonfiction: Collected Essays by Contemporary Writers. She has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Capital, Artist Trust, 4Culture, and Potlatch Fund. Elissa is an assistant professor of creative writing at the Ohio State University.

(For pronunciation help, listen to me read this bio here.)


Other things people ask about

When is your next book coming out?

2021, from Tin House BooksWhite Magic is a book-in-progress you can hear more about here. If you want to get on my contact list for updates about the book, please sign up here. If you might want to interview me, review the book, consider course adoption, etc., you can reach out to my friends at Tin House.


Are you available for an interview?

Probably not right now (having run out of things to say about my past books), but I would love to do interviews when White Magic is closer to its publication date. Please contact me now so I can be back in touch with you then. I love talking about writing and am excited to have something new to talk about. If you're thinking about reaching out, I strongly recommend reading this fantastic thread about interview best practices.


Can you send me resources/information/your thoughts about [thing related to writing or Native literatures or something mentioned in an essay]?

I wish I could help everyone who asks! I'm employed as an educator and try to focus my efforts there, so unfortunately don't have the capacity to respond to requests from strangers. I sometimes share useful things on Twitter, like this massive thread of work by Native and Indigenous writers. 


Are you still in Seattle?

No, I moved in 2017. I live in Columbus, Ohio. 


How old are you? (tbh people rarely ask, but Google says they want to know.)

It keeps changing. I was born in 1984.


Can you read my work? or: Do you provide consultations? or: Are you available as a sensitivity reader?

I believe in dedicating my critical attention fully to the work of my students and friends. I'm not accepting individual requests for consultation, mentoring, or feedback. I am open to blurb requests but it's best if you email me at least a few months in advance of your deadline.

If you're considering MFA programs and would like to work with me, consider Ohio State. I sometimes show up to limited-term workshops (like the Tin House Summer Workshop) as visiting faculty; see events to find any upcoming workshops that have been announced. 

I'm not available as a sensitivity reader and don't currently know anyone who is available to do sensitivity reading for Native American representations. The typical problems in representation are simply too large for an evaluation at the standard rates, and I would encourage anyone interested in writing about Indigenous peoples to start by examining their own intentions, forming relationships, and doing extensive research.


Are you available to read at my college / reading series / workshop?

Maybe! Email me to ask about it. My contact information is below.


When are you going to come to my city?

See events for all announced upcoming appearances. I'm easing up on professional travel until my next book comes out. At that point, I want to party* (drink the special flavors of diet coke) in every city, so let me know if you have ideas about making it happen in yours.


How do I get in touch with you? 

To reach my assistant and me about White Magic, email whitemagicbook@gmail.com.

Most other inquiries can be sent to elissawashuta@gmail.com.

My literary agent is Monika Woods of Triangle House Literary, reachable at monika@triangle.house


Can you send me a bio and a photo for the reading/interview/other thing you're doing?

Of course! But I'm just going to come to this page and copy-paste and put stuff in an email to you, so you might as well use the bio at the top of the page and any of these headshots:

At top, photo credit Andrew J.S.

Photo credit KR Forbes (click for full-size version):

Photo credit Marcus Jackson (click for full-size version):



From the Blog