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Novelist Louise Erdrich to be Honored by Library of Congress

Novelist Louise Erdrich to be Honored by Library of Congress

Louise Erdrich will be awarded this year’s Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. 

The renowned author is perhaps best known for her novels “Love Medicine” and “The Round House,” the former of which won the 1984 National Book Critics Circle Award and the latter the 2012 National Book Award for Fiction. Erdrich has also published poetry and children’s books. 

In an interview with the New York Times, Erdrich, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, described the honor as “an out-of-body experience.” She continued, “It seems that these awards are given to a writer entirely different from the person I am — ordinary and firmly fixed. Given the life I lead, it is surprising these books got written. Maybe I owe it all to my first job — hoeing sugar beets. I stare at lines of words all day and chop out the ones that suck life from the rest of the sentence. Eventually all those rows add up.”

Erdrich also explained the intent behind her works: ““I don’t write from a compulsion to provide for the reader a Native American, Great Plains, or for that matter, German-American experience,” she said. “I write narratives that compel me, using language that reverberates for me.”

“Louise Erdrich has portrayed her fellow Native Americans as no contemporary American novelist ever has,” said James H. Billington, the Librarian of the US Congress. In a statement announcing the prize, Billington described Erdrich’s prose as “lyrical and gritty, magical yet unsentimental, connecting a dreamworld of Ojibwe legend to stark realities of the modern day.”

Toni Morrison, author of “Beloved,” is a past winner of the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. 

Eldrich will receive the prize during the National Book Festival on September 5. 

[via The New York Times]

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