Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis native author wins Pulitzer Prize for fiction

Paula Carlsen

Louise Erdrich/harpercollins

MINNESOTA, MN — Louise Erdrich, a Minnesota writer, has won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction Friday for her novel called “The Night Watchman”.

Erdrich is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. She had won several awards in her career, including the National Book Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and twice the National Book Critics Circle fiction award.

The Night Watchman is based on the life of Erdrich’s grandfather, Aunishenaubay Patrick Gourneau. It tells the story about the community’s efforts to stop the U.S. government in the displacement and elimination of several Native American tribes in the 1950s.

The government planned to end their status, abolish their tribes and relocate them from reservations to cities so that the government could take their land.

Two dozen of the 113 tribes became extinct due to this event that happened in the 1950s, mentioned Erdrich in a 2020 interview with the Star Tribune.

When she started writing the book, she thought that no one would be interested in reading a book about a dreadful bill that Congress passed in 1954.

Erdrich was delighted that another Indigenous woman, Nathalie Diaz, also won a Pulitzer award with her “Postcolonial Love Poem”. Another Pulitzer award winner in her city is Darnella Frazier, who was honored by Pulitzer for capturing the death of George Floyd.

When she received the news of winning the award, she was working on her next piece of book, “The Sentence”, about a haunted bookstore.

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