Toni Jensen is the author of From the Hilltop, a collection of linked stories published through the Native Storiers Series at the University of Nebraska Press. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Stories from the South: The Year's Best, 2007; Best of the West: Stories from the Wide Side of the Missouri, 2011; and Denver Quarterly, among others. She is Métis.
For the characters we meet in Toni Jensen’s stories, the past is very much the present. Theirs are American Indian lives off the reservation, lives lived beyond the usual boundaries set for American Indian characters: migratory, often overlooked, yet carrying tradition with them into a future of difference and possibility.
Drawing on American Indian oral traditions and her own Métis upbringing, Jensen tells stories that mix many lives and voices to offer fleeting perspectives on a world that reconfigures the tragedy and disconnection often found in narratives of American Indian life. A brother falls off the roof of an abandoned hotel, a young bride tries to connect with a family she’s never met, and an adopted teenage girl seeks acceptance where she is viewed as an outsider. The reader also encounters a kidnapped nephew, strangers in a hotel, and even a stray dog: these are the souls that populate Jensen’s stories, finding tentative connections with the past, the future, one another, and finally us.
Fiction writing, creative nonfiction writing, North American Indigenous literature
Ph.D., Texas Tech University
- Love Bugs All Around Her, a novel
- From the Hilltop: Stories, Native Storiers Series, University of Nebraska Press, 2010.
- “New Or Used,” Denver Quarterly, Fall 2014.
- “Following Mr. Brown,” Iron Horse Literary Review, December 2012.
- “Looking for Boll Weevil,” Best of the West: Stories from the Wide Side of the Missouri, 2011.
- “At the Powwow Hotel,” New Stories from the South, The Year’s Best, 2007 and Best Stories from the Southwest, 2008.
- “Killing Elvis,” Yellow Medicine Review, Fall 2007.
- “From the Hilltop,” Fiction International, Fall 2006.
- “Rabids,” The Dalhousie Review, Spring 2005.
- “Chiromancer,” Passages North, Spring 2005.
- Formby Research Fellowship, Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, 2011.
- Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction, Nimrod International Literary Journal, 2006.