Animal: What Makes Us Human

Sherman Alexie: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (and Banned Writer)

As a literary animal, Sherman Alexie has many identities. Of Spokane/Coeur d’Alene tribal heritage, he is a novelist (The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian), filmmaker (Smoke Signals), and poet (I Would Steal Horses, The Business of Fancydancing). For the past 25 years, he has insightfully explored contemporary Native American culture, urging his readers, with candor and humor, to look beyond the stereotypes that have often been associated with reservation life. One of the most decorated writers in America, he reads from his work and discusses a surprising—and problematic—achievement. He is one of the most-banned living authors, a fact that has propelled him into the front lines of the struggle against censorship.  

He will be joined in conversation by author Rebecca Makkai.

This program is presented in partnership with the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom and the Freedom to Read Foundation.

Photo Credit: Rob Casey

Speakers and Performers

Sherman Alexie

Author, poet, and screenwriter Sherman Alexie was named one of The New Yorker’s 20 top writers for the 21st century. The New York Times Book Review described him as “one of the major lyric voices of our time.” A gifted orator, he tells tales of contemporary American Indian life laced with razor-sharp humor, unsettling candor, and biting wit. He released Blasphemy, an anthology of new stories and beloved classics, in October 2012.

Rebecca Makkai

Rebecca Makkai is a Chicago-based writer. Her second novel, The Hundred-Year House, will be available next summer from Viking. Her first novel, The Borrower, was a Booklist Top Ten Debut, an Indie Next pick, and one of Chicago Magazine's choices for best fiction of 2011. Her short fiction was chosen for The Best American Short Stories in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. She teaches writing at Lake Forest College and StoryStudio Chicago.

CHF Suggests

Leaders And Thinkers

Sherman Alexie
Official website

Good Reads

The Best Kids Books
Sherman Alexie defends the young adult novel in this WSJ op-ed
The Value of Subverting Authority
Guernica magazine interviews the author

Online Resources

The Bill Moyers interview
The author talks about living outside cultural borders [video]