Minnesota novelist Louise Erdrich, a celebrated author who has won several literary awards, now has another prestigious prize to her name. The author of "Love Medicine" and "Tracks" is this year's winner of the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction.
In a statement, Librarian of Congress James Billington praised Erdrich's "lyrical and gritty" prose: "Throughout a remarkable string of virtuosic novels, Louise Erdrich has portrayed her fellow Native Americans as no contemporary American novelist ever has, exploring — in intimate and fearless ways — the myriad cultural challenges that indigenous and mixed-race Americans face." Erdrich's heritage is Ojibwe, French and German.
Erdrich is the author of 14 novels, the newest of which is "The Round House," published in 2012, which won the National Book Award. Her first novel, "Love Medicine," won the 1984 National Book Critics Circle Award.
Erdrich reflected on her grandfathers in the statement announcing the prize: "Of all their grandchildren, it would have surprised them most to think of me, skinny and tongue-tied, amounting to anything. But in addition to the Library of Congress, I have my parents Rita and Ralph, in whom my grandparents’ spirits are still vital, to thank for this recognition."
This is the third year the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction has been awarded. The previous two winners were E.L. Doctorow and Don DeLillo. Erdrich will be presented with the award on Sept. 5 at the Library of Congress National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.