Sherman Alexie

1966 –

Sherman Alexie, a Spokane/Coeur d’Alene poet and novelist, was born on October 7, 1966, on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington. He received his BA in American studies from Washington State University in Pullman.

Alexie’s books of poetry include Face (Hanging Loose Press, 2009); One Stick Song (Hanging Loose Press, 2000); The Man Who Loves Salmon (Limberlost Press, 1998); The Summer of Black Widows (Hanging Loose Press, 1996); Water Flowing Home (Limberlost Press, 1996); Old Shirts & New Skins (American Indian Studies Center, University of California, Los Angeles, 1993); First Indian on the Moon (Hanging Loose Press, 1993); I Would Steal Horses (Slipstream, 1992); and The Business of Fancydancing (Hanging Loose Press, 1992).

Alexie is also the author of several novels and collections of short fiction, including a young adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2007), which won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature; Flight (Grove Press, 2007); Ten Little Indians (Grove Press, 2003); The Toughest Indian in the World (Grove Press, 2000); Indian Killer (Grove Press, 1996); Reservation Blues (Grove Press, 1995), which won the Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award; and The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1993), which received a Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award.

Among Alexie’s other honors and awards are poetry fellowships from the Washington State Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award. He has also received the Stranger Genius Award, a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, a Pushcart Prize, the PEN/Malamud Award, and a citation as “One of 20 Best American Novelists Under the Age of 40” from Granta magazine.

Alexie and Chris Eyre wrote the screenplay for the movie Smoke Signals (1998), which was based on Alexie’s short story “This is What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona.” The movie won two awards at the Sundance Film Festival in 1998 and was released internationally by Miramax Films. Alexie is also a three-time world heavyweight poetry slam champion. Alexie lives with his wife and son in Seattle.