33 Facts About Sherman Alexie


Sherman Alexie's writings draw on his experiences as an Indigenous American with ancestry from several tribes.


Sherman Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation and now lives in Seattle, Washington.


Sherman Alexie's first young adult novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, is a semi-autobiographical novel that won the 2007 US National Book Award for Young People's Literature and the Odyssey Award as best 2008 audiobook for young people.


Sherman Alexie's father, Sherman Joseph Alexie, was a member of the Coeur d'Alene tribe, and his mother, Lillian Agnes Cox, was of Colville, Choctaw, Spokane and European American ancestry.


Sherman Alexie was born with hydrocephalus, a condition that occurs when there is an abnormally large amount of cerebral fluid in the brain's ventricular system.


Sherman Alexie had to have brain surgery when he was six months old, and was at high risk of death or mental disabilities if he survived.


Sherman Alexie's surgery was successful; he did not experience mental damage but had other side effects.


Sherman Alexie's parents were alcoholics, though his mother achieved sobriety.


Sherman Alexie has described his life at the reservation school as challenging, as he was constantly teased by other kids and endured abuse he described as "torture" from white nuns who taught there.


Until the age of seven, Sherman Alexie had seizures and bedwetting; he had to take strong drugs to control them.


Sherman Alexie excelled academically, reading everything available, including auto repair manuals.


Sherman Alexie excelled at his studies and became a star player on the basketball team, the Reardan High School Indians.


Sherman Alexie was elected class president and was a member of the debate team.


Originally, Sherman Alexie enrolled in the pre-med program with hopes of becoming a doctor, but found he was squeamish during dissection in his anatomy classes.


Sherman Alexie switched to law, but found that was not suitable, either.


Sherman Alexie felt enormous pressure to succeed in college, and consequently, he began drinking heavily to cope with his anxiety.


Sherman Alexie was at a low point in his life, and Kuo served as a mentor to him.


Sherman Alexie said this book changed his life as it taught him "how to connect to non-Native literature in a new way".


Sherman Alexie was inspired by reading works of poetry written by Native Americans.


The allegations against Sherman Alexie were detailed in an NPR story five days later.


Sherman Alexie published his first collection of poetry, The Business of Fancydancing: Stories and Poems, in 1992 through Hanging Loose Press.


In 2005, Sherman Alexie became a founding board member of Longhouse Media, a non-profit organization that is committed to teaching filmmaking skills to Native American youth and using media for cultural expression and social change.


Sherman Alexie has long supported youth programs and initiatives dedicated to supporting at-risk Native youth.


Sherman Alexie's stories have been included in several short story anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories 2004, edited by Lorrie Moore; and Pushcart Prize XXIX of the Small Presses.


Sherman Alexie's career began with the publishing of his first two collections of poetry in 1992, entitled, I Would Steal Horses and The Business of Fancydancing.


Sherman Alexie refers to his writing as "fancydancing," a flashy, colorful style of competitive Pow wow dancing.


Sherman Alexie compares the mental, emotional, and spiritual outlet that he finds in his writings to the vivid self-expression of the dancers.


Sherman Alexie published his first prose work, entitled The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, in 1993.


Sherman Alexie's young adult novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a coming-of-age story that began as a memoir of his life and family on the Spokane Indian reservation.


Sherman Alexie based the screenplay on his short story collection, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, and characters and events from a number of Sherman Alexie's works make appearances in the film.


The film is unique in that Sherman Alexie hired an almost completely female crew to produce the film.


Sherman Alexie is married to Diane Tomhave, who is of Hidatsa, Ho-Chunk and Potawatomi heritage.


Sherman Alexie's writings are meant to evoke sadness, but at the same time, he uses humor and pop culture that leave the readers with a sense of respect, understanding, and compassion.