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In Ramona Emerson's first novel a Diné woman confronts ghosts while working as forensic photographer

Ramona Emerson filming
Reel Indian Pictures

University Showcase, 11/18 8a: On this episode we speak with Ramona Emerson. She is a Diné writer and filmmaker originally from Tohatchi New Mexico. She is also a University of New Mexico alum, graduating in 1997 with a degree in Media Arts. She has published her first novel, which features a Diné forensic photographer who must also face the ghosts of victims from the crime scenes she documents. Emerson also has an MFA in creative writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. She has made seven films, including "The Mayors of Shiprock," which followed the path of some remarkable young Navajo people and their work in their community.

Emerson has over two decades of experience working as a professional videographer, writer, and editor. She’s been an Emmy nominee, a Sundance Native Lab Fellow, a Time-Warner Storyteller Fellow, a Tribeca All-Access Grantee, and a WGBH Producer Fellow. She and her husband, Kelly Byars, run the production company Reel (like film reel) Indian Pictures in Albuquerque. Her most recent creative endeavor is the novel “Shutter,” which follows Rita, a Diné woman who works as a forensic photographer capturing gruesome crime scenes for the Albuquerque Police Department, and who also struggles with the ghosts from those crimes who want justice. It was long listed for the National Book Award.

Megan has been a journalist for 25 years and worked at business weeklies in San Antonio, New Orleans and Albuquerque. She first came to KUNM as a phone volunteer on the pledge drive in 2005. That led to volunteering on Women’s Focus, Weekend Edition and the Global Music Show. She was then hired as Morning Edition host in 2015, then the All Things Considered host in 2018. Megan was hired as News Director in 2021.