David Treuer on Five Favorite Indigenous Authors You Should

Last month, Pantheon Books, a brand of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, announced that author David Treuer would become a general publisher, acquiring and editing two fiction and non-fiction books per year with a focus on writers. indigenous peoples and emerging voices.

“It’s such a privilege to have this opportunity to help literature in general and Indigenous writers and Indigenous books in particular,” Treuer told The Times in a recent conversation. Below, the author of “The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee,” among other acclaimed works, recommends five authors – young and long-established, famous and unpublished who should be read immediately.

David Treuer in Lyon, France, in 2014. At the Panthéon, he will acquire and edit new voices, including indigenous authors.

(Ulf Andersen / Getty Images)

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Dennis staples

(Ojibwe)

Dennis E. Staples photo author.

Dennis E. Staples.

(Jean La Tourelle)

In This city sleeps”(2020), Staples wrote one of the strangest novels I’ve read in a long time: It’s Weird and Dark and Darkly Comical. He has a big heart and a big reach.

Sterling HolyWhiteMountain

(Black feet)

Writer Sterling HolyWhiteMountain.

Sterling HolyWhiteMountain.

(S. Schildt)

HolyWhiteMountain is from East Glacier, Mont. He published two incredible, formally thought-provoking and extremely readable short stories. “LightweightWas published in the New Yorker in the spring, and “This is then a song, we singHas just been published in the Revue de Paris.

Tiffany midge

(Standing Rock Hunkpapa Lakota)

Tiffany Midge (Standing Rock Hunkpapa Lakota).

Tiffany Midge.

(Jay Dearien)

Midge is a hilarious satirical essayist and non-fiction writer, and her work brings laughs. But those are “thoughtful” laughs, because the humor turns in on itself and makes you see so much about modern Native American life in a new way. Much of this work is collected in his book, “Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese“(2019).

James welch

(Black feet)

Novelist-poet James Welch at his home in Missoula, Mont.

James Welch.

(Los Angeles Times)

Welch, who died in 2003, is in my opinion the best Indigenous writer of the past 200 years. He wrote poetry, non-fiction and fiction. His fiction, however, is where he really shone. “Winter in the blood“(1974),”Jim Loney’s death“(1979) and”The raven fools”(1986) are all masterpieces. The wonderful thing about Welch’s work is that he would try something new – stylistically, thematically – every time he started a new project. Not all of his books “worked”, but he was the most ambitious and experimental of our writers. I’m on the lookout for the next Welch.

Leslie Marmon Silko

(Laguna Pueblo)

Author Leslie Marmon Silko.

Leslie Marmon Silko.

(The classics of penguins)

Silko, who won the 2020 LA Times Robert Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award, wrote one of the seminal texts of modern Indigenous literature: “Ceremony(1977). But this is Silko’s apocalyptic novel from 1992, Almanac of the Dead“, that’s what impresses me the most. Silko wrote the Native apocalypse novel. It crosses centuries and straddles borders; I can’t think of any other book that has such a wide and weird embrace of our modern times. And I am very keen to discover new writers for Pantheon in this same vein.


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