Professor Kim Peterson Receives Grant for Book Research
By Aleigha Wiegand
March 22, 2004
Congratulations to Writer-in-Residence Kim Peterson. While teaching the journalism and writing courses, she has had numerous newspaper and magazine articles published. Recently, in hopes of taking her writing further, she applied for the Rose Voci Fellowship Award for a novel she is writing, entitled Cherokee Lullaby. Peterson sent a letter to the committee explaining why she wants to write the novel, and they awarded her Honorable Mention and a check of $250 for her research to begin the novel.
Rose Voci Fellowship Awards are given to women writers in Indiana. The committee is run by Rose Voci's daughters, Elaine Voci and Rosalie Dhionis, in remembrance of their mother who had a passion for reading and writing. The awards given can do anything from helping a woman improve her writing skills by sending her to classes or workshops to paying part of the expenses of research that needs to be done for literature.
Peterson wants to write the semi-autobiographical novel because it will explain a part of her history. Her great-grandmother, Addalina Sumpter, was a Cherokee woman who married John Granville Starnes, a white man. The couple moved their boys from Oklahoma's Indian Territory to Arkansas. Much of her Indian heritage was lost. The Cherokee people sang lullabies to their children like many other cultures do. However, since her great-grandmother's time, the Cherokee songs have been lost because the music was not written down or passed from generation to generation. Peterson intends to parallel the two losses in her novel.
"My desire is to apply the monies from the Rose Voci Fellowship for Women to the research phase of my novel Cherokee Lullaby. Trips to North Carolina would allow me to explore museums, libraries and genealogy centers at Cherokee, Western Carolina University at Cullowhee, and other sites still to be determined," she said.
She intends to take the trip this summer during the week of July Fourth.
Cherokee Lullaby will be a novel directed toward young adult or female audiences. The storyline will somewhat follow Peterson's own experiences. She will "have a white person realize that she has Indian blood, and then that person will research her genealogy and recover her history."