Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, First Indian on the Moon, and I Would Steal Horses are all captivating titles of the prolific work of Sherman Alexie, a Salish Indian from Spokane Washington who boasts various awards for his literature that highlights the nuanced lives of American Indians.

As an infant, Alexie underwent surgery for congenital hydrocephalus, a procedure which caused him to have seizures during his childhood. His physical limitations kept him from athletic competition, so he dove into the world of books. Alexie left the reservation in Spokane, where his grandmother was a spiritual leader, to attend an all-white high school where he excelled academically and served as class president. These experiences led to his writing his award-winning young-adult novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. He attended Gonzaga University on a scholarship but later graduated from Washington State University, where he took a poetry course that he says helped him find his voice as a writer.

Alexie has written screenplays and music, worked as a director, and appeared on shows like The Colbert Report. His array of awards include the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Dos Passos Prize, the American Book Award, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas.

Citations and further reading: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Sherman-Alexie