The New Mexico State Library and the Department of Cultural Affairs selected five honorary literary posts in honor of the upcoming statehood centennial, 1912-2012. Levi Romero, Research Scholar and poet laureate in the UNM School of Architecture and Planning, was named Centennial Poet.

The honorary literary posts are:

• Poet: Levi Romero
• Author: Don Bullis
• Children's Author: Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
• Storyteller: Joe Hayes
• Distinguished Writer: N. Scott Momaday

"The individuals chosen for these honorary positions will highlight the importance of poetry, storytelling and literature to preserving and disseminating the state's heritage and rich cultures," Cultural Affairs Secretary Stuart Ashman said. "It is an important and appropriate moment to honor New Mexico writers as we pay tribute to the state's past, celebrate the present and envision the future."

In the summer of 2010, the New Mexico State Library sought nominations statewide, which were reviewed by selection committees of scholars, writers, librarians, and educators. The writers' work will be highlighted throughout the statehood Centennial commemoration in libraries statewide. Said State Librarian Susan Oberlander, "We're delighted to take advantage of this opportunity to recognize some of our finest home-based writers, and share their work with residents and visitors alike in 2011 and 2012."

New Mexico became the 47th state on January 6, 1912, and communities statewide are now preparing a wide range of projects, exhibits and events to commemorate the state's 100th birthday. Led by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, the NM Centennial 1912-2012 is a statewide commemoration encompassing Centennial-themed events, projects and initiatives that will begin in September 2011 and continue throughout 2012. For more information visit www.nmcentennial.org, or call 505-984-2012.

ARTIST BIOS:
• Poet: Levi Romero
Author of A Poetry of Remembrance: New and Rejected Works, In the Gathering of Silence, and other publications, Romero is from the Embudo Valley. He's a bilingual poet whose language is immersed in the regional manito dialect of northern New Mexico. His work has been published throughout the U.S., Mexico, Spain, and Cuba. A winner of numerous awards, he recently taught in the creative writing program at UNM and in UNM's School of Architecture and Planning program, he focuses on cultural landscape studies.

• Author: Don Bullis
Don Bullis graduated from Eastern New Mexico University with a bachelor's degree in American History and American Literature. Following a long career in law enforcement, he returned to newspaper work as a columnist, book reviewer and political correspondent for the Rio Rancho Observer in 2002. Bullis lives in Rio Rancho, New Mexico with his wife, Gloria. He serves on the Board of the Historical Society of New Mexico, and is the author of both fiction and nonfiction books, including the Old West Trivia Book, Bloodville, and New Mexico: A Biographical Dictionary, Volumes I and II.

• Children's Author: Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
Vaunda Nelson has been a teacher, newspaper reporter, bookseller, school librarian, and twice a member of the Newbery Award Committee. She was elected to the Caldecott Committee for 2011. She is the author of several children's books including Almost to Freedom, Juneteenth, Who Will I Be, Lord?, and Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal, which earned the 2010 Coretta Scott King Award. Currently Nelson is a youth services librarian at the Rio Rancho Public Library.

• Storyteller: Joe Hayes
Joe Hayes is a nationally recognized teller of tales from the Hispanic, Native American and Anglo cultures. Hayes has performed in hundreds of schools, libraries, museums and parks. He has told stories at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN, and in 2005 received the Talking Leaves Literary Award from the National Storytelling Network, an award given storytellers who have made considerable and influential contributions to the literature of storytelling. Joe has taught storytelling to teachers at UNM and been a guest lecturer at many colleges and universities.

• Distinguished Writer: N. Scott Momaday

N. Scott Momaday was born in Lawton, OK, and grew up on the Navajo Reservation. He is recognized as one of the most successful contemporary Native American literary figures. His books of poetry include In the Bear's House, In the Presence of the Sun: Stories and Poems, 1961-1991, and The Gourd Dancer. His first novel, House Made of Dawn, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He is author of several other novels, prose collections, the children's book Circle of Wonder, and the play The Indolent Boys. He is also the editor of various anthologies and collections. His works have garnered many prestigious awards.