Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Contributor Spotlight on Louise Erdrich

by Dan Froid

Today, Louise Erdrich, one of our much loved past contributors, will be recognized as the recipient of the 2014 PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction. The biannual award of $25,000 marks lifetime achievement in American fiction. Erdrich is the first woman to win the award, joining the male-dominated ranks of Philip Roth, Cormac McCarthy, Don DeLillo, and E.L. Doctorow.

Erdrich is the author or co-author of fourteen novels—most recently the National Book Award-winning The Round House—in addition to short stories, poetry, children’s books, and a memoir. She is also the owner of Birchbark Books, an independent bookstore in Minneapolis; find out what she’s reading on the store’s intermittent blog.

We’re proud to claim Louise Erdrich among the ranks of Prairie Schooner contributors. Most recently, her poem “The Return,” originally published in the Fall 1989 issue, was reprinted in FUSION #5: Secrets. Here’s an excerpt:

I hid and waited
while God crossed over like the Hindenburg
and roared, like my grandfather to his men
and traced the ground with his binocular vision
but never saw me, as I was blue
as the shadow in a chunk of snow,
as a glass horse in a glass stall.

Read the rest of “The Return” here.

And for more with Erdrich, also read this great interview with The Daily Beast, which features this fascinating exchange:

If you could bring back to life one deceased person, who would it be and why?

What a terrifying question, but OK … I’d bring back Columbus, Pizarro, Coronado, Andrew Jackson, Hitler, Pol Pot, and an assortment of contemporary dictators and megalomaniacs. I would throw them all together in a prison cell for a week with one jug of water and two pizzas made with basil and fresh mozzarella. After the week was up all would be brought before Simone de Beauvoir, who would decide what to do with them.