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Sherman Alexie
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Sherman Alexie
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Author, poet, and screenwriter Sherman Alexie connects readers around the world to the American Indian experience, making them laugh, cry, and think through his semi-autobiographical writings. One of The New Yorker’s 20 top writers for the 21st century, Alexie was described by Men’s Journal as “the world’s first fast-talking, wisecracking, mediagenic American-Indian superstar."  His National Book Award-winning The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, a #1 New York Times bestseller, was named the best Young Adult Book of all time by TIME

Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington, but it wasn’t until a college professor recognized his “intensity of language, passion, and energy” that he fully committed to writing. Shortly after, his first books of poetry were published, and he began developing into a gifted orator, telling tales of contemporary American Indian life with razor-sharp humor, unsettling candor, and biting wit. 

His novels, such as Reservation BluesIndian Killer, and The Toughest Indian in the World, have won numerous awards and accolades, including Booklist’s Editor’s Choice Award, the PEN/Malamud Award, and Publishers Weekly’s Book of the Year. His anthology of new stories and beloved classics, Blasphemy, was included on Kirkus ReviewsThe New York Times, and NPR’s lists of 2012’s best books. 

Forbes proclaimed Alexie’s latest New York Times Best Seller, the children's book Thunder Boy Jr, “a new classic.” In its starred review, Kirkus called it "an expertly crafted, soulful, and humorous work that tenderly explores identity, culture, and the bond between father and son.”

In 1998, Alexie wrote and produced the film Smoke Signals, which won the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy at the Sundance Film Festival.  He made his directorial debut with 2002’s The Business of Fancydancing.

He is currently working on a sequel to both The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and co-hosting the podcast A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment with best-selling author Jess Walter. He is the guest editor of 2015’s Best American Poetry

Alexie received Washington State University's Highest Alumni Award, recognizing the importance of his Native American voice to a broad audience, the Katherine Anne Porter Award in Literature, and Pushcart Prize. He was awarded a 2014 Literature Award by The American Academy of Arts and Letters.  

Full Bio >
  • Meet Sherman Alexie

  • Living Outside Cultural Borders: Sherman Alexie talks to Bill Moyers 
  • Sherman Alexie Accepts 2007 National Book Award 
  • KCTS 9 Interviews Sherman Alexie 
  • TIME: 10 Questions for Sherman Alexie (2012)
  • Sherman Alexie Talks to Big Think About Writing and Comedy (2009)
  • Sherman Alexie on News Hour with Jim Lehrer (2009)
  • Sherman Alexie on The Colbert Report (2008)
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Speaking Topics
Without Reservations: An Urban Indian's Comic, Poetic & Highly Irreverent Look at the World
Security, Sovereignty, Selfishness: How to be a 21st Century American Nomad
The Business of Fancydancing: Poems, Stories, Punch Lines and Highly Biased Anecdotes
The Partially True Story of the True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Books & Other Works
  • The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
  • Thunder Boy Jr.
  • The Best American Poetry 2015
  • Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
  • What I've Stolen, What I've Earned
  • War Dances
  • Face
  • Flight
  • Ten Little Indians
  • Smoke Signals: A Screenplay
  • The Toughest Indian in the World
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“He was truly amazing, spending three hours on stag,e making us laugh til tears were running down our cheeks, and using that humor to make us think critically about our tightly held truths. Afterwards, he spent another two hours signing books and meeting individually. He connected with each person in the line, making them feel that they each mattered in this world. I don't believe I have ever met such an engaging person. He was my dream for our conference on censorship and the welcoming of Indian students to our college. I think the hope he gave our community was worth every effort!”
Fresno State University
“Wow. Sherman blew us away. He gave a mind-blowing lecture and touched on themes that were so relevant to the members of the audience who ranged in age from middle schoolers and up. He was funny (of course), engaging, raw and real. The students absolutely loved him. He was very gracious and so easy to host. I think he could have talked all night - it was hard to cut him off, but we had to at some point! What a wonderful person.”
Williamette University
“It was splendid! He had them in the palm of his hand.”
Johnson and Wales
“Sherman was amazing. His performance/presentation was epic! He spoke for 2 hours, answered questions for 30 minutes and then did the book signing for another 45 minutes. The praise from the community has been tremendous. Sherman was a sheer delight to work with — we didn't want to see him go.”
Deschutes Public Library
“Absolutely smashing! Beyond my wildest expectations. He had us all laughing for two hours. But beyond that, he changed people's thinking ---which is my goal for bringing people of his caliber here. Anyone who saw him will never be the same.”
Bismarck State College
“He was alternately hilarious, outrageous and thought-provoking before an overflowing crowd.”
Iowa State University
“Wow! That’s all, just Wow! Our event was wildly successful, raising more than twice what we did last year and far exceeding our goal. Sherman spoke after the fundraising part and many people said that we should have had another raise-the-paddle at that point. He kept the audience entranced with his heartfelt personal stories mixed with just the right amount of humor. He had clearly done his homework on HealthPoint and by the end of his talk, he had circled around and tied everything into what we do. Our guests were in awe!”
“Sherman Alexie was definitely the highlight of the evening, and people are still telling me how classy he is by staying until the last fan had gone home. He was gracious, polite and extremely funny. The event will definitely be one that people will be talking about for a long time.”
Spirit Mountain Community Fund
“Sherman Alexie was the hit I knew he would be. Everyone was inspired and entertained by his words. He is quite the treasure.”
The University of Montana
“Sherman was brilliant, and incredibly generous with his time... Probably the most fun, and the best, campus event that we've ever hosted, in terms of attendance, energy, and positive feedback from everyone involved.”
University of Oklahoma
“Things went Fabulously!!!! Sherman was very generous with himself - he signed books for over an hour and stayed way longer than required in the Native Studies reception where he engaged in multiple meaningful conversations.”
University of Alaska
“Sherman’s remarks were witty, perceptive, humorous, as well as poignant. We really, really enjoyed him! In the morning we got a great crowd of students, both from high school and the university. He completely held their attention and, I suspect, inspired several of them to consider writing as a career.”
Western Connecticut State University
“Sherman was fantastic! Students responded incredibly well to him and he definitely challenged them in a unique and exciting way. He was personable, funny, engaging and just really a delight to work with.”
Reed College
“We had a marvelous experience today with Sherman Alexie. We had a full house for his performance and he did an amazingly good job. We were all impressed not only with his humor but with his very serious insights into the human condition. Indeed, it was his balancing between the humorous and the more reflective which made the event such an extraordinary experience for our students and faculty.”
Drury University
“I think everyone in the audience was laughing for an hour straight.”
University of Minnesota
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