Louise Erdrich was born in 1954, the oldest of seven children, and 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 College in Hanover, New Hampshire.
During and after college, Erdrich held a variety of jobs: she hoed sugar beets in Wahpeton; waitressed in Boston, Syracuse and elsewhere; 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 won the National Book Critics Circle Award and other prizes. LOVE MEDICINE eventually became the first novel in a remarkable 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.
In addition to these novels, Erdrich's publications include a collaborative novel, THE CROWN OF COLUMBUS (1991, written with Michael Dorris), another book of poetry BAPTISM OF DESIRE (1989), and THE LAST REPORT ON THE MIRACLES AT LITTLE NO HORSE (2001), a finalist for the National Book Award. She has written of art, infancy, and the natural world in her first work of nonfiction, THE BLUE JAY'S DANCE (1995).
Her most recent novel, THE PAINTED DRUM, was published in 2005.
Biography of Louise Erdrich
provided by HarperCollins Publishers and is used with permission.