Louise Erdrich

From the Office of the Governor:



Governor to Present Erdrich with Award April 19

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Jack Dalrymple today announced he has named award-winning author and Wahpeton-native Louise Erdrich the 39th recipient of the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, the state’s highest commendation for its citizens. Dalrymple will officially present Erdrich with the award during an event in Wahpeton on April 19.

“Louise is an internationally-acclaimed author who has been a prominent figure in the field of literature since her first book was published in 1984,” Dalrymple said. “Her prolific compilation of novels, poetry and children’s books has earned national and international acclaim and success, including a National Book Award and being selected a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Throughout her career, Louise has maintained strong ties to North Dakota, often featuring her home state in her books. She has proudly represented our great state and it is my privilege to honor her with this prestigious recognition.”

Karen Louise Erdrich was born in Little Falls, Minn., in 1954, and grew up in Wahpeton, where her parents worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs School. Erdrich is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. She graduated from Dartmouth College and received a master of fine arts degree from Johns Hopkins University.

Erdrich is the author of 14 novels, as well as volumes of poetry, children’s books, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her novel Love Medicine (1984) won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse was a finalist for the National Book Award. The Plague of Doves (2008) won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2009. On November 15, 2012, she won the National Book Award for her latest novel, The Round House.

“I will always consider Wahpeton, and the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota, my home,” Erdrich said. “As I’ve been helped by powers beyond my ordinary talents, this award is for all. It honors my family, teachers, friends, ancestors, the characters in my books, and the generosity of this land.”

“An Evening with Louise Erdrich” will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 19, at the North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) Student Center (Redwood Room). Dalrymple will unveil a portrait of Erdrich that will hang in the state Capitol in Bismarck, along with the portraits of other notable North Dakotans. Erdrich will give a reading from her work following the presentation. A reception and book signing will follow at the Red Door Art Gallery in Wahpeton. The public is invited to attend.

The award presentation will be held as part of a celebration of North Dakota authors through ReadND, a consortium of organizations dedicated to celebrating and promoting literature created in and about North Dakota, including Prairie Public Television, the North Dakota Humanities Council, North Dakota Council on the Arts, State Historical Society of ND, and North Dakota Library Association. The ceremony will air on Prairie Public on Thursday, April 25 at 7 p.m.

On Saturday, April 20, Erdrich will appear with her three sisters, Lise Erdrich, Heid Erdrich, and Angela Erdrich, to read stories and poems, present images of their visual art and offer an open discussion about their lives as artists and growing up together in Wahpeton. The event will begin at 10 a.m. at the NDSCS Stern Cultural Center.

An honorary rank of Colonel in the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Riders was established during the 1961 Dakota Territory Centennial. The award recognizes present and former North Dakotans who have been influenced by the state in achieving national recognition in their fields of endeavor, thereby reflecting credit and honor upon North Dakota and its citizens.