Biography of Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich was born in Little Falls, Minnesota, and grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota. Her father was German-American and her mother was half French and half Ojibwe (Chippewa), a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe. Erdrich is the oldest of seven children. Her parents taught at the Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding schools while she was growing up.

Erdrich attended Dartmouth and was a member of the first co-ed class admitted by the college. She studied English there and met her future husband Michael Dorris, who was the founder of Dartmouth's then-new Native American Studies program. After graduating in 1976, Erdrich went on to receive an advanced degree in creative writing from Johns Hopkins, and shortly thereafter wrote "The World's Greatest Fisherman," which became the first chapter of Love Medicine. She and her husband had three biological daughters and adopted three more children before their 1995 divorce.

Erdrich has written more than a dozen novels and has won many literary awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award for Love Medicine and the National Book Award for Fiction for her 2012 novel The Round House. Her books frequently focus on contemporary and historical Native American issues, and many of her writings are centered around characters introduced in Love Medicine. Erdrich presently lives in Minnesota and owns the independent bookstore Birchbark Books.


Study Guides on Works by Louise Erdrich

Originally released in 1984, Love Medicine is Louise Erdrich's first published novel. Initially, Erdrich wrote "The World's Greatest Fisherman" after she earned her master's degree in creative writing, and this short story later became the basis...