Award-winning novelist Louise Erdrich grew up in North Dakota, the oldest of seven children born to a Chippewa mother and a father of German-American descent. She graduated from Dartmouth College in 1976 and Johns Hopkins University in 1979, supporting herself with a variety of jobs, including lifeguard, waitress, teacher, and construction flag signaler. She began her literary career as a poet and short story writer and won awards in both fields.
In the late 1970s, Erdrich began a unique collaboration with Michael Dorris, a Native American writer and teacher she met at Dartmouth and married in 1981. In a creative partnership that endured throughout most of their 14-year marriage, each writer exerted a profound influence on the other's work. Although their names appear in tandem on the cover of only two books, Route Two (1990) and The Crown of Columbus (1991), literally everything either one produced during this time was a collaborative effort. In 1995, after a series of tragic setbacks, the couple separated; two years later, Dorris committed suicide.
From the beginning, Erdrich has translated her mixed blood ancestry into chronicles of astonishing power and range. Her bestselling debut novel, the 1984 National Book Critics Circle Award winner Love Medicine, is a series of interrelated stories about several generations of Chippewas living on or near a North Dakota reservation. Spanning most of the 20th century, the book dispenses with any sort of chronological time line and borrows narrative conventions from Native American oral tradition. Several subsequent novels pick up characters, incidents, and narrative threads from Love Medicine to form an interconnected story cycle.
In her novels, Erdrich explores complex issues of family, personal identity, and cultural survival among full- and mixed-blood Native Americans, delving into mythology and tradition to extract what is both specific and universal. She has been known to rework material, incorporating short stories into long fiction, rewriting, and revising constantly. She continues to write poetry and is the author of several children's books, as well as a memoir of early motherhood and a travel book. She is also a founder of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore in Minneapolis, where she now lives.
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|Louise Erdrich Home
|In Our Other Stores|
Signed, First Editions by Louise Erdrich|
|Love Medicine, 1984|
|Jacklight: Poems, 1984|
|The Beet Queen, 1986|
|Baptism of Desire: Poems, 1989|
|The Crown of Columbus, 1991|
|The Bingo Palace, 1994|
|The Blue Jay's Dance: A Birth Year, 1995|
|Grandmother's Pigeon, 1996|
|Tales of Burning Love, 1996|
|The Antelope Wife, 1998|
|The Birchbark House, 1999|
|The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse, 2001|
|The Master Butchers Singing Club, 2003|
|Four Souls, 2004|
|The Painted Drum, 2005|
|Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country: Traveling Through the Land of my Ancestors, 2006|