Kent Nerburn is an American novelist born on July 3, 1946 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As a child, he was taught by his father, Lloyd, to always exude compassion and kindness. Lloyd worked for the American Red Cross and Nerburn cites his experiences working alongside his father as essential to his understanding of human emotion. To personally see people affected by natural disasters and other personal tragedies instilled in Nerburn a sense of gratefulness for the luxuries he had been afforded. After graduating high school, he attended the University of Minnesota as an American Studies major. He later enrolled at Stanford University for graduate school, then UC Berkeley to earn his PhD. His first foray into the literary scene was the publication of his novel entitled To Walk the Red Road: Memories of the Red Lake Ojibwe People, which discussed the quality of life for people of the Red Lake Indian Reservation. All of his works have a common motif of Native American and indigenous life.
In 1994, Kent Nerburn released his fourth book, Neither Wolf Nor Dog, which tells the story of an 80-year-old Lakota Indian man named Dan. It is a moving social commentary on racial prejudice through the perspective of an elder Native American. Nerburn’s novel also addresses cultural differences that separate the white and Indian races.
Upon its publication, Neither Wolf Nor Dog received rave reviews for its provocative portrayal of life on a Native American Reservation. Critic Mary Ann Brussat praises the book as “a classic that should be read and savored by anyone interested in spirituality...It is a poignant passage that will stand the test of time and key you into meanings of shadow and redemption.” Because of its glowing reception, Neither Wolf Nor Dog was also adapted into a film of the same name in 2016, directed by Steven Lewis Simpson and starring Dave Bald Eagle.