Louise Erdrich in Conversation with Ann Patchett
Sunday, July 26, 2020
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Louise Erdrich’s powerful novel The Night Watchman is based on the extraordinary life of her grandfather, who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native dispossession from rural North Dakota all the way to Washington, D.C.
Louise is the author of fifteen novels as well as volumes of poetry, children’s books, short stories, and a memoir of early motherhood. The Round House won the National Book Award for Fiction. The Plague of Doves won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and her debut novel, Love Medicine, was the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. She has received the Library of Congress Prize in American Fiction, the prestigious PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.
Louise lives in Minnesota with her daughters and is the owner of Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore.
Ann Patchett the author The Dutch House, The Patron Saint of Liars, Taft, The Magician’s Assistant, Bel Canto, Run, State of Wonder, and Commonwealth. She was the editor of Best American Short Stories, 2006, and has written three books of nonfiction–Truth & Beauty, about her friendship with the writer Lucy Grealy, What Now? an expansion of her graduation address at Sarah Lawrence College, and This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, a collection of essays examining the theme of commitment. In 2019, she published her first children’s book, Lambslide, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser.
In November, 2011, Ann opened Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee, with her business partner Karen Hayes. She has since become a spokesperson for independent booksellers, championing books and bookstores on NPR, The Colbert Report (including the series finale), Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, The Martha Stewart Show, and The CBS Early Show, among many others. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Karl VanDevender, and their dog, Sparky.
“When we are young, the words are scattered all around us.
As they are assembled by experience, so also are we, sentence by sentence, until the story takes shape.”
– Louise Erdrich
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