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Writers Conference

Grand Forks, ND

Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich 1988

Video recordings of Louise Erdrich at the 2004 UND Writers Conference.
Video recordings of Louise Erdrich at the 1988 UND Writers Conference.

The eldest of seven children, Louise Erdrich was born in Little Falls, Minnesota on July 6, 1954. She grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota where her parents taught at the Bureau of Indian Affairs school.

In 1972, Erdrich was among the first women admitted to Dartmouth College. She majored in English and creative writing, and took courses in the Native American Studies program.

In 1979, Erdrich earned her Master of Arts degree in writing from John Hopkins University. For her thesis Erdrich wrote poetry that would later be published in the collection Jacklight. She also began writing her novel Tracks.

Love Medicine is Erdrich's first and most critically acclaimed novel. It was originally published in 1984 and republished in an expanded form in 1993. Erdrich received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Best Fiction for Love Medicine. Her other novels include The Beet Queen, Tracks, The Bingo Palace, Tales of Burning Love, and The Antelope Wife.

Erdrich has also won the Pushcart Prize in Poetry, the O. Henry Prize for short fiction, the Western Literary Association Award, received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and several of her stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories series. Erdrich's short fiction has also appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, and Paris Review.

~Biographical information taken from UNL Center for Great Plains Studies (

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