Sherman Alexie at the BookExpo Conference in New York City in 2007.
|Born||Sherman Joseph Alexie, Jr.
October 7, 1966
Wellpinit, Washington, U.S.
|Occupation||Poet, Short-Story Writer, Novelist, Screenwriter, Filmmaker|
|Genres||Native American literature, Humor, Documentary fiction|
|Literary movement||Indigenous Nationalism|
|Notable work(s)||The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Smoke Signals (film)|
|Notable award(s)||American Book Award, National Book Award, PEN/Hemingway|
Sherman Joseph Alexie, Jr. (born October 7, 1966) is an American writer, poet, filmmaker, and occasional comedian. Much of his writing draws on his experiences as a Native American. Two of Alexie's best known works are The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (1994), a book of short stories and Smoke Signals, a film. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, an autobiographical young adult novel, was his first major commercial success. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
Sherman Alexie, a Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, was born hydrocephalic (or with Water on the Brain) in October 1966, on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington. Despite his condition, he had no apparent retardation, though he suffered seizures and other effects throughout his childhood. Alexie made the conscious decision to leave his reservation and attend Reardan High School, where he knew he would receive a better education.
In 1985, Alexie enrolled at Gonzaga University on a scholarship. In 1987, he transferred to Washington State University (WSU), where he fell under the influence of Alex Kuo. Kuo inspired Alexie to write poetry, and soon after graduating, Alexie published his first collection of poems, The Business of Fancy Dancing, through Hanging Loose Press.
Alexie is also noted for his love of basketball, both as an audience member and a player. He is a loyal and enthusiastic supporter of the now relocated Seattle SuperSonics. His writings on the sport are frequently cited by notable basketball writers, such as ESPN's Henry Abbott.
Prior to the SuperSonics' relocation, the City of Seattle filed a lawsuit against the team's ownership group headed by businessman Clayton Bennett in an attempt to force the team to play out the remainder of its lease (which was to expire in 2010) in Seattle's KeyArena. Alexie testified in favor of the city, stressing the importance of the Sonics to Seattle's culture and community, as well as to individual fans - an experience that he would later describe as the "most terrifying and stressful public speaking gig I've ever had to endure." However, the City of Seattle settled with the ownership group, permitting the team to break its lease and move to Oklahoma City for the following season, in exchange for a multi-million dollar cash settlement. Despite the personal and communal loss, Alexie retains his love for the game, and continues to follow pro ball passionately.
Alexie's stories have been included in several prestigious short story anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories 2004, edited by Lorrie Moore; and Pushcart Prize XXIX of the Small Presses. Additionally, a number of his pieces have been published in various literary magazines and journals, as well as online publications. His website, FallsApart.com, contains more information than is readily available in this list.
Alexie is the recipient of numerous awards including the 1999 O. Henry Award, the 2000 inaugural PEN/Amazon.com Short Story Award, the Poetry Society of America's 2001 Shelley Memorial Award and the Poets and Writers "Writers Exchange 2001" Contest. He was a member of the 2000, 2001, 2005 & 2006 Independent Spirit Awards Nominating Committees. He has also served as a creative adviser to the Sundance Institute Writers Fellowship Program and the Independent Feature Films West (which has now been changed to Film Independent) Screenwriters Lab. Alexie most recently was a juror for the 2005 Rae Award.
At the University of Washington's 2003 commencement ceremony, Alexie was the commencement speaker. He was an Artist in Residence at the university and taught courses in American Ethnic Studies in 2004, 2006 and 2008. In 2003, he earned the Regents' Distinguished Alumnus Award, Washington State University's highest honor for alumni. He also holds honorary degrees from Seattle University (doctor of humanities, honoris causa - 2000) and Columbia College, Chicago (1999). Alexie has worked as a mentor for the PEN Emerging Writers program.
Alexie's works have been translated into many languages. His translators include:
Sherman Alexie, Jr. (born 1966-10-07 in Spokane, Washington) is an award-winning and prolific writer (of novels, short stories, poems, and screenplays) and occasional comedian who lives in Seattle, Washington. Much of his writing draws on his experiences as a modern Native American (he is a Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian) in the United States.