Sherman Alexie has been called a new, inventive voice in Native American literatures. But don’t call him a Native American, a term that he says is a product of “liberal white guilt.” Alexie is Spokane and Coeur d’Alene Indian, although he is careful to warn against reading his work as representative of other Indians’ experiences.
A prolific and now best-selling writer who has published over 20 books—including novels, poetry, short stories, young adult books, essays, and two screenplays—Alexie has transformed perceptions of what Native American literatures are and can be. His work has been celebrated as perceptive and denounced as combative by both Native and non-Native audiences.
He uses sharp-edged wit and often irreverent humor to confront misrepresentations of Indians and lay bare the hypocrisy of white paternalism and federal policies toward Native Americans. His work refuses to romanticize the daily lives of Indians and instead offers a brutally painful but ultimately honest portrayal of reservation and urban life, including negative realities of poverty, dysfunction, and alcoholism alongside camaraderie, endurance, and love.
Alexie grew up on the Spokane Reservation in Washington State, the setting for many of his novels and short stories. After leaving the Reservation in high school, Alexie earned a scholarship to Gonzaga University, and graduated from Washington State University in 1991. He now lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.
Published works by Sherman Alexie:
Blasphemy (short stories) 2012
War Dances (short stories & poems) 2009
Face (poetry) 2009
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (young adult novel) 2007
Flight (novel) 2007
Dangerous Astronomy (poetry) 2005
Il powwow della fine del mondo (poetry) 2005
Ten Little Indians (short stories) 2003
The Business of Fancydancing (screenplay) 2003
One Stick Song (poetry ) 2000
The Toughest Indian in the World (short stories) 2000
Smoke Signals (screenplay) 1998
The Man Who Loves Salmon (poetry) 1998
The Summer of Black Widows (poetry) 1996
Indian Killer (novel) 1996
Water Flowing Home (poetry) 1996
Reservation Blues (novel) 1995
Seven Mourning Songs For the Cedar Flute… (poetry) 1993
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (short stories) 1993
First Indian on the Moon (poetry) 1993
Old Shirts & New Skins (poetry) 1993
I Would Steal Horses (poetry) 1992
The Business of Fancydancing (poetry) 1991
(post by Alicia Kent)