BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Award-winning author Louise Erdrich has been named the 39th recipient of the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, the state’s top honor.
Gov. Jack Dalrymple announced Monday that he will bestow the honor on Erdrich during a ceremony April 19 in Wahpeton. Erdrich, who was born in Little Falls, Minn., in 1954, and lives in Minneapolis, grew up in Wahpeton. She is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.
“I will always consider Wahpeton, and the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota, my home,” Erdrich said in a statement. “As I’ve been helped by powers beyond my ordinary talents, this award is for all. It honors my family, teachers, friends, ancestors, the characters in my books, and the generosity of this land.”
Erdrich has maintained strong ties to North Dakota while becoming a prominent figure in the field of literature, often featuring the state in her books, Dalrymple said in a statement.
“She has proudly represented our great state and it is my privilege to honor her with this prestigious recognition,” he said.
Erdrich is the author of 14 novels, as well as volumes of poetry, children’s books, and a memoir of early motherhood. Her book “The Plague of Doves” was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2009. Her latest novel, “The Round House,” won the National Book Award for fiction.
The Rough Rider Award — named after the former U.S. president who once ranched in the North Dakota Badlands — is bestowed by the state’s governor on those who have been influenced by North Dakota in achieving national recognition in their chosen fields.
Past winners include musicians Lawrence Welk and Bobby Vee, baseball great Roger Maris, journalist Eric Sevareid, author Louis L’Amour, actress Peggy Lee, former Secretary of State Warren Christopher, and former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers basketball coach Phil Jackson.
Portraits of all of the winners hang in the state Capitol in Bismarck. Erdrich’s portrait will be unveiled during the Wahpeton ceremony.
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