Photo: Robin Holland

Louise Erdrich


Louise Erdrich is the author of several best-selling novels as well as volumes of poetry, short stories, children’s books, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her novel, Love Medicine, won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse was a finalist for the National Book Award. The Plague of Doves won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Born in 1954, the eldest of seven children, Erdrich was raised in Wahpeton, North Dakota, where her Ojibwa-French mother and German-American father taught at a Bureau of Indian Affairs School. She did not leave the Red River Valley region until 1972, when she entered Dartmouth as part of the first class of women admitted to the college. She is also a graduate of Johns Hopkins University.

During and after college, Erdrich held a variety of jobs: she hoed sugar beets in Wahpeton, waitressed in Boston, worked in a state mental hospital in Vermont, taught poetry in prisons and schools in North Dakota, worked on a construction site and edited The Circle, a Boston Indian Council newspaper.

Jacklight, Erdrich’s first book of poems, was published in 1983, followed a year later by Love Medicine, which eventually became the first novel in a series that would include The Beet Queen (1986), Tracks (1988), The Bingo Palace (1994), Tales of Burning Love (1996), The Antelope Wife (1998) and Four Souls (2004). The Master Butchers Singing Club was published in 2003. Her collected short stories were published as Red Convertible: Collected and New Stories in 2009.

Erdrich’s latest book, Shadow Tag, was published in 2010.