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Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1936, Marilou Awiakta is a seventh-generation Appalachian native and self-described Cherokee-Appalachian poet, storyteller, and essayist. After graduating from the University of Tennessee with degrees in French and English in 1958, Awiakta and her husband lived in France for three years where she sharpened her connection and sensitivity to language. Her books include Abiding Appalachia: Where Mountain and Atom Meet (1978), Rising Fawn and the Fire Mystery (1983), and Selu: Seeking the Corn-Mother’s Wisdom (1994). Her work has been chronicled in magazines, literary journals, and various anthologies of literature around the world. Awiakta currently lives in Memphis, Tennessee, with her husband, Paul Thompson.