Louise Erdrich Biography: Age, Wiki, Education, Career, Books, Net Worth, Husband, Children

louise erdrich biography

Louise Erdrich Biography

Louise Erdrich is an American author known for her novels, poetry, and children’s books that often feature Native American characters and settings. She was born on June 7, 1954, and is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

Erdrich has received numerous accolades for her work, including the National Book Award for Fiction in 2012 for her novel “The Round House” and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2021 for “The Night Watchman”. She is also the owner of Birchbark Books, a bookstore in Minneapolis.

Louise Erdrich Age

Louise Erdrich is 69 years old as of 2024.

Louise Erdrich Early Life and Education

Louise Erdrich was born on June 7, 1954, in Little Falls, Minnesota. Her early life was steeped in the rich cultural heritage of her family, with her father being of German descent and her mother part Ojibwa. Erdrich’s parents were educators at a Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school in Wahpeton, North Dakota, where she spent her formative years.

Erdrich’s education began in the very town where her parents taught, Wahpeton, North Dakota.


In 1972, Erdrich took a significant step in her educational journey by enrolling at Dartmouth College. She was part of the first class of women admitted to the college, and her time there coincided with the establishment of the Native-American studies department.

Erdrich graduated from Dartmouth College in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in English. Her passion for storytelling and her commitment to exploring the nuances of Native American life were evident in her academic pursuits.

Continuing her pursuit of literary excellence, Erdrich attended Johns Hopkins University, where she earned a master’s degree in creative writing in 1979. Her graduate studies honed her skills as a writer, providing her with the tools and discipline necessary to craft her narratives.

Louise Erdrich Career

Louise Erdrich’s career as a writer spans several decades and encompasses a variety of genres, including novels, poetry, and children’s literature. Her work is deeply rooted in her Native American heritage, particularly her connections to the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. Erdrich’s literary journey began in earnest with her debut novel, “Love Medicine,” published in 1984. This book set the stage for many of her subsequent works, introducing readers to her recurring themes of family, community, and the complexities of Native American life.

Following the success of “Love Medicine,” Erdrich continued to explore the lives of Native American characters in her writing. Her novels often intertwine personal and cultural narratives, weaving a rich tapestry of the Native American experience. Notable titles include “The Beet Queen” (1986), “Tracks” (1988), and “The Bingo Palace” (1994), which further established her as a leading voice in Native American literature.


Erdrich’s work has not only garnered critical acclaim but also a dedicated readership. Her ability to portray the resilience and challenges of Native American communities has resonated with many. In 2009, her novel “The Plague of Doves” was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and received an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. This recognition highlighted her skill in addressing complex historical and contemporary issues within her narratives.

In 2012, Erdrich won the National Book Award for Fiction for “The Round House,” a novel that deals with themes of justice and vengeance on a North Dakota reservation. This award was a testament to her storytelling prowess and her nuanced exploration of moral dilemmas faced by her characters.

In addition to her writing, Erdrich is the owner of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore in Minneapolis. This bookstore focuses on Native American literature and serves as a community space for the Native community in the Twin Cities. Through this venture, Erdrich has created a platform for other Native American writers and has fostered a greater understanding of Native American culture.

Throughout her career, Erdrich has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction in 2015. In 2021, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel “The Night Watchman,” further cementing her status as one of the most significant writers of the second wave of the Native American Renaissance.

Louise Erdrich Books

Louise Erdrich has authored a significant number of books across various genres. Here’s a list of some of her works:



  • “Love Medicine” (1984)
  • “The Beet Queen” (1986)
  • “Tracks” (1988)
  • “The Bingo Palace” (1994)
  • “Tales of Burning Love” (1997)
  • “The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse” (2001)
  • “Four Souls” (2004)
  • “The Painted Drum” (2005)
  • “The Plague of Doves” (2008)
  • “The Round House” (2012)
  • “LaRose” (2016)
  • “Future Home of the Living God” (2017)
  • “The Night Watchman” (2020)
  • “The Sentence” (2021)

Children’s Literature:

  • “Grandmother’s Pigeon” (1996)
  • “The Birchbark House” (1999)
  • “The Game of Silence” (2005)
  • “The Porcupine Year” (2008)
  • “Chickadee” (2012)
  • “Makoons” (2016)


  • “Jacklight” (1984)
  • “Baptism of Desire” (1989)
  • “Original Fire: Selected and New Poems” (2003)


  • “The Blue Jay’s Dance: A Birth Year” (1995)
  • “Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country” (2003)

Louise Erdrich Awards

Louise Erdrich has been honored with several prestigious awards throughout her career. Here’s a list of some of her notable accolades:

  • National Book Award for Fiction (2012) for “The Round House”.
  • Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (2021) for “The Night Watchman”.
  • Anisfield-Wolf Book Award (2009) for “The Plague of Doves”.
  • Guggenheim Fellowship in the Creative Arts (1985).
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas (2000).
  • PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction (2014).
  • World Fantasy Award for Best Novel (1999) for “The Antelope Wife”.

Louise Erdrich Husband and Children

Louise Erdrich was married to Michael Dorris, an author and professor of Native American studies. They collaborated on several works together before his passing in 1997. Together, they had three biological children and adopted three more.

Louise Erdrich Net Worth

Louise Erdrich has an estimated net worth of $2 million as of 2024.

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