The Night Watchman brings Pulitzer to Louise Erdrich

The Native American writer Louise Erdrich has won the Pulitzer Prize for The Night Watchman, a powerful novel inspired by the life of her maternal grandfather, whose reservation community was threatened in the 1950s by a new “emancipation” bill on its way to the floor of the United States Congress.

The jury described Erdrich's novel as “a majestic, polyphonic novel about a community's efforts to halt the proposed displacement and elimination of several Native American tribes in the 1950s, rendered with dexterity and imagination”. Louise Erdrich is 67 years old. Her mother, and she herself, originate from the Chippewa tribe. During her 40-year writing career, Louise Erdrich has won a number of awards, including the American National Book Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award (twice), and the Library of Congress Prize in American Fiction. She has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2009 with her novel The Plague of Doves.

In addition to Native Americans and their problems in communicating with whites, she has written about the lives of immigrants in a small town, about coping with marital problems and their effects on children, as well as a dystopia about the difficulties of a pregnant woman after a global catastrophe.

Erdrich's novels are populated with memorable personalities, some of whom appear many times in her works. A special characteristic of her as an author is her profound depiction of people.

Louise Erdrich writes also poetry, short stories and children's books.

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