Louise Erdrich Biography

Louise Erdrich Biography

Louise Erdrich is one of America’s most celebrated Native American authors. Born in 1954, she grew up in North Dakota, where her parents were teachers at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Erdrich's father is German, and her mother is Ojibwa and French. Her writing often reflects the struggle to claim a distinct identity in her multicultural world. Frequently, Erdrich’s novels deal with the cyclical nature of time, an important concept to many Native Americans. Her characters often include a “trickster,” a mischievous troublemaker who makes appearances in native folktales. Before her solo success, Erdrich collaborated with her husband on children’s books. Some of her best-known novels include Love Medicine, The Beet Queen, and The Antelope Wife.

Facts and Trivia

  • Erdrich comes from a long line of storytellers. In a 1991 interview in Writer’s Digest, she said, “The people in our families made everything into a story. They love to tell a good story. People just sit and the stories start coming, one after another.”
  • Louise Erdrich was in the first coeducational class at Dartmouth College in 1972. While at Dartmouth, Erdrich met and married professor Michael Dorris. The two remained married for many years but divorced in 1997. Sadly, Dorris committed suicide the following year.
  • Erdrich says that she revises all of her work extensively and sometimes uses old journals to get ideas for her writing.
  • Two of Erdrich’s most ardent admirers are Toni Morrison and Philip Roth. Of the novel Love Medicine, Morrison said, “The beauty of Love Medicine saves us from being devastated by its power.” Philip Roth has said her work is filled with “originality, authority, tenderness, and pitiless wild wit.”
  • Erdrich has won several O. Henry Awards for her short stories, and several have been selected for inclusion in The Best American Short Stories anthologies.
Additional Content
  • Biography (History of the World: The 20th Century)
  • Biography (Native Americans: A Comprehensive History)
  • Biography
  • Biography (Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)
  • Biography (Survey of Novels and Novellas)
  • Biography (Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)
  • Biography (Poets and Poetry in America)
  • Biography (Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)
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  • Biography (Masterpieces of American Literature)
  • Biography (Masterpieces of American Literature)

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