Robert J. Conley


Robert J. Conley, Cherokee, was born in Cushing, OK. in 1940. After finishing high school in Wichita Falls, TX, he attended college there at Midwestern University where he received his bachelor's degree in drama in 1966 and his master's in English in 1968.

He has been Asst. Programs manager for the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Director of Indian Studies at Eastern Montana College, Bacone College in Muskogee and at Morningside College in Sioux City. Robert has also been an Associate Professor of English at Morningside College and an Instructor of English at Southwest Missouri State University and at Northern Illinois University.

His poems and short stories have been published in numerous periodicals and anthologies over the years, including some in Germany, France, Belgium, New Zealand, and Yugoslavia. His poems have been published in English, Cherokee, German, French and Macedonian versions.

Robert's most unusual publication may be the poem, Some Lines in Commemeration of this site: Little Maquoketa River Mounds, May 15, 1981. The poem was commissioned by the Iowa State Department of Transportation and published on a permanent display board at the mound site near Dubuque.

His first novel, Back to Malachi, was published in 1986. Since that time he has had over 70 books published, a collection of short stories, several reprints, including 3 British editions, and several books on tape. Robert also wrote the novelization of a screenplay, Geronimo: An American Legend which was published in the U.S. by Pocketbooks and reprinted in translation in Italy.

Conley is a member of the Western Writers of America and has won 2 Spur awards for his novels Nickajack and The Dark Island and another Spur award for his short story Yellow Bird: An Imaginary Autobiography, published in The Witch of Goingsnake. In 1997 Robert was inducted into the Oklahoma Professional Writers Hall of Fame. He is an enrolled member of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma.

He now lives in Norman, Oklahoma with his wife, Evelyn, where he writes full time.

A short biography from the Internet Public Library's Native American Author's Project is available.

Robert J. Conley's Journal Publications

Robert J. Conley's Plays

Selections from reviews of Robert's books

Writing available online

On Holding A Pre-Columbian Clay Figure
The Caretaker


Cherokee Medicine Man was a 2007 nominee for the Oklahoma Reads Oklahoma competition. The medal was presented at an awards ceremony in the state capitol.

The Cherokee Nation: A History was selected by the American Library Association as one of the Outstanding Academic Titles of the Year.

Robert is the Featured Author during January 2001 on the ReadWest website.

Spur-Best Western Short Fiction 1988 Yellow Bird: An Imaginary Autobiography, in The Witch of Goingsnake.

Runner up, Best Western Novel, Western Writers of America Spurs, 1991, Ned Christie's War.

Nominated, Best Book for Young Adults, 1992, American Library Association, Nickajack.

Spur-Best Western Novel, Western Writers of America, 1992 Nickajack.

Nominated, USA West Literary Award in fiction, 1992, PEN Center USA West, Mountain Windsong.

Robert J. Conley Day, proclaimed by the mayor of Wichita Falls, TX, June 12, 1993.

Voted Best Writer by a poll of the readers of The Tahlequah Daily Press, Tahlequah, OK, June 27, 1993, 1994, & 1995.

Spur-Best Western Novel, Western Writers of America,1995 The Dark Island

Oklahoma Professional Writers Hall of Fame, inducted in 1996.

Outstanding Alumnus of 1997, Midwestern State University, Division of Humanities, Wichita Falls, TX.

Wordcrafter of the Year 1997, from Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers.

1999 Oklahoma Writer of the Year, presented at the Short Course of the University of Oklahoma's Professional Writing Program, Department of Journalism.

Wordcraft Circle Writer of the Year - Creative - Prose: Fiction 2000 The Cherokee Dragon. The Cherokee Dragon was also a finalist for the 2001 Oklahoma Book Award in the Fiction category.

Wordcraft Circle Writer of the Year - Creative - Prose: Fiction 1999 War Woman. War Woman was also a finalist for the 1998 Oklahoma Book Award in the Fiction category.

Cherokee Medal of Honor, from the Cherokee Honor Society, 2000.

Books by Robert J. Conley or containing his work

The Real People Series - Rereleased beginning in October 2000
by the University of Oklahoma Press.
The books are listed in sequence.

Book cover
The Way of the Priests
Book cover
The Dark Way
Book cover
The White Path
Book cover
The Way South
Book cover
The Long Way Home
Book cover
The Dark Island
Book cover
The War Trail North
Book cover
The Peace Chief
Book cover
Cherokee Dragon
Book cover
War Woman

The Cherokee Nation: A History, Univ. New Mexico Pr.
Selected by the American Library Association as one of the Outstanding Academic Titles of the Year
Cherokee Medicine Man: The Life And Work Of A Modern-day Healer, Univ. Oklahoma Pr.
Cherokee, with David Fitzgerald (Photographer), Graphics Arts Center Pub.
Sequoyah, St. Martin's Press.
The Devil's Trail, St. Martin's Press.
Medicine War, Signet.
Spanish Jack, St. Martin's Press.
A Cold, Hard Trail, St. Martin's Press.
The Gunfighter, Leisure Press.
Broke Loose, Leisure Press.
Fugitive's Trail, St. Martin's Press.
Barjack, Leisure Books.
Cherokee Dragon, St. Martin's Press.
Brass, Leisure Books.
Incident at Buffalo Crossing, Leisure Books.
The Meade Solution, University of Colorado Press.
The Peace Chief, St. Martin's Press.
The Actor, paperback reprint, Leisure Books.
War Woman: A Novel of the Real People, Griffin Trade.
Back to Malachi, Leisure Books.
Border Line, Pocket Books.
Captain Dutch, Pocket Books.
Crazy Snake, Pocket Books. (Largeprint), (Large Print Western, Hardcover)
The Dark Island, Bantam Books.
Geronimo, an American Legend; A Novel, Pocket Books.
Audio recording from Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic.
Go-Ahead Rider, Pocket Books. (G.K. Hall Large Print Book)
Killing Time (An Evans Novel of the West), M Evans & Co.
Killing Time, (Large print Edition) (Audio Cassette) Synopsis of Audio version
The Long Trail North, Pocket Books.
Mountain Windsong : A Novel of the Trail of Tears, Univ of Oklahoma Press.
Audio recording from Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic.
Mountain Windsong, A Feature Film
Ned Christie's War, St. Martin's Press. [Reprinted. Available again!]
Outside the Law, Pocket Books.
To Make a Killing, Pocket Books.
The War Trail North: Real People, Book #07, Bantam Books.
The Way South; The Real People, Book IV, Bantam Books. (Largeprint)
The Witch of Goingsnake and Other Stories, Univ of Oklahoma Press.
Zeke Proctor : Cherokee Outlaw, Pocket Books.
The Dark Way, Bantam Books.
The Long Way Home; Real People Book 5, Bantam Books.
Rattlesnake Band and Other Poems, Indiana University Press.
The Actor (A Double d Western Book), Doubleday. [Out of Print]
Colfax, Ballantine Books. [Out of Print]
Nickajack, Bantam Books. [Out of Print]
Quitting Time, Pocket Books. [Out of Print] Audio Cassette
The Saga of Henry Starr, Ballantine Books. [Out of Print]
Strange Company, Pocket Books. [Out of Print]
The Way of the Priests, Bantam Books. [Out of Print]
The White Path (The Real People, Book 3), Bantam Books. [Out of Print]
Wilder and Wilder, Random House (Paper). [Out of Print]
Echoes of Our Being, (Editor), Indian University Press, 1982.
Adwosgi, Swimmer Wesley Snell: A Cherokee Memorial, The Blue Cloud Quarterly Press, 1980.
21 Poems, Aux Arcs Press, 1975.
The Essay : Structure and Purpose, Edited with Richard Cherry and Bernard Hirsch, 1975,
Houghton Mifflin.
A Return to Vision, Edited with Richard Cherry and Bernard Hirsch, 1971, 1974,
Houghton Mifflin.
The Shadow Within, Edited with Richard Cherry and Bernard Hirsch, 1973,
Houghton Mifflin.
Poems for Comparison and Contrast, Edited with Richard Cherry, 1972,
Houghton Mifflin.
Audio recording from Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic.

Anthologies icon

Homeric Questions, Gregory Nagy, University of Texas Press.
Aniyunwiya/Real Human Beings : An Anthology of Contemporary Cherokee Prose,
Joseph Bruchac (Editor), Greenfield Review Press.
Review ofAniyunwiya/Real Human Beings by D.L. Birchfield
Voices Under One Sky : Contemporary Native Literature, Trish Fox Roman (Editor),
Crossing Press.
Wild West Show!,Thomas Knowles and Joe R. Lansdale (Editors), Crescent Books.
Website for this book, from the author, Tom Knowles. The American Library Association has placed this book on its recommended reading list for the Ken Burns/PBS series The West.
Song of the Turtle : American Indian Fiction 1974-1994, Paula Gunn Allen (Editor),
Ballentine Books.
Durable Breath : Contemporary Native American Poetry, John E. Smelcer, D. L. Birchfield
(Editors), Salmon Run Pub.
The West That Was, Thomas Knowles and Joe R. Lansdale (Editors), Crescent Books.
Website for this book, from the author, Tom Knowles.
Returning the Gift: Poetry and Prose from the First North American Native Writers' Festival
(Sun Tracks Books, No 29) University of Arizona Press.
The Clouds Threw This Light, Phillip Foss (Editor), Institute of American Indian Arts Press.
The Golden Spurs : The Best of Western Short Fiction, Dale L. Walker (Editor), Tor Books.
The World's Best Poetry: Supplement IV, Minority Poetry of America;
An Anthology of Asian, Black, Hispanic and Native American Poetry, Roth Publishing Co.
Earth Power Coming : Short Fiction in Native American Literature
Ed. by Simon J. Ortiz, Navajo Community College Press
The Remembered Earth : An Anthology of Contemporary Native American Literature
by Geary Hobson (Editor), Univ of New Mexico Press
Songs from This Earth on Turtle's Back : An Anthology of Poetry by American Indian Writers
by Joseph Bruchac (Editor), Greenfield Review Press
From the Belly of the Shark: A New Anthology of Native Americans, Walter Lowenfels (Editor),
Random House.
The Face of Poetry, LaVerne Harrel Clark and Mary MacArthur (Editors),
Heidelberg Graphics.
The New Breed, David Oliphant (Editor), Prickly Pear Press.

Work published in Languages other than English reifthumb picture

Der Wind Rief Seinen Namen, Oesch Verlag, Zurich, 1997.
Geronimo, La Martingale, Paris, France, 1994.
(French language translation by Elizabeth Clarens.)
Geronimo: Una Leggenda Americana, Interno Giallo, Mondadori, 1994.
Uma Porta para o Alem, Nova Cultura, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1989.

Anthologies icon

l'Arbre a Paroles: 14 Poetes Amerindiens Contemporains
Manuel van Thienen (Editor and Translator), Brussels, 1989.
Die Erde Is Eine Trommel,
Georg Bydlinski and Kathe Recheis (Editors), (Herder & Co., 1988, Austria)
Auch Das Gras Hat Ein Lied: Indianertexte Der Gegenwart,
Georg Bydlinski and Kathe Recheis (Editors), (Herder & Co., 1988, Austria)
Pyesni Od Ostrovot Na Zhelkata: Antologiya Na Sovryemyenata Poetziyz Na Indiantsitye Od Sad,
Joseph Bruchac and Maria K. Doneva (Editors), Sovremnost Press, Yugoslavia, 1982.

Interviews & Other Material icon

"Backtracking from Oklahoma to North Carolina", Sandra Ballard,
Appalachian Journal: A Regional Studies Review, 28, Number 3, Spring, 2001.
"A More Realistic Picture: An Interview with Robert J. Conley", Joseph Bruchac,
Wooster Review, 8, 106-114, 1988 Spring.
Wili Woyi: An Exploration in "Fantasy" Literature
An outline for a class discussing this Robert J. Conley story.

In Association with

This is an "official" site in that this page was constructed with the assistance and active collaboration of the poet, Robert J. Conley. The website "author" is Karen M. Strom

© 1998 - 2007 Robert J. Conley and Karen Strom.

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