Author, poet, and screenwriter Sherman Alexie connects readers around the world to the American Indian experience, making them laugh, cry, and think through his semi-autobiographical writings. One of The New Yorker’s 20 top writers for the 21st century, Alexie is, as Men’s Journal describes, “the world’s first fast-talking, wisecracking, mediagenic American-Indian superstar.
Aleixe grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington, but it wasn’t until a college professor recognized his “intensity of language, passion, and energy” that he fully committed to writing. Shortly after, his first books of poetry were published, and he began developing into a gifted orator, telling tales of contemporary American Indian life with razor sharp humor, unsettling candor, and biting wit.
His novels, such as Reservation Blues, Indian Killer, and The Toughest Indian in the World, have won numerous awards and accolades, including Booklist’s Editor’s Choice Award, the PEN/Malamud Award, Publishers Weekly’s Book of the Year. His anthology of new stories and beloved classics, Blasphemy, was included on Kirkus Reviews, The New York Times, and NPR’s lists of 2012’s best books. The National Book Award-winning The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was named the best Young Adult Book of all time by Time.
In 1998, Alexie wrote and produced the film Smoke Signals, an adaptation of his book The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. The movie went on to win the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy at the Sundance Film Festival. He made his directorial debut with 2002’s The Business of Fancydancing
He is currently working on a sequel to both The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and co-hosting the podcast A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment with best-selling author Jess Walter.
Alexie received Washington State University's Highest Alumni Award, recognizing the importance of his Native American voice to a broad audience, the Katherine Anne Porter Award in Literature, and Pushcart Prize. He was recently awarded a 2014 Literature Award by The American Academy of Arts and Letters.
His 24th book What I've Stolen, What I've Earned, a collection of poems, was released in November 2013. He is the guest editor of 2015’s year's Best American Poetry, coming in September.
“Absolutely smashing! Beyond my wildest expectations. He had us all laughing for two hours. But beyond that, he changed people's thinking ---which is my goal for bringing people of his caliber here. Anyone who saw him will never be the same.”
-Bismarck State College