The daughter of a full-blooded Chippewa, Louise Erdrich was born on July 6, 1954 in Little Falls, Minnesota, the daughter of Ralph and Rita Erdrich, both of whom were employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Erdrich's heritage may explain her focus and interest in the Native Americans who populate her writing. In speaking of her childhood, Erdrich relates how her father used to give her a nickel for every story she wrote and her mother would provide construction paper for book covers. She always felt like a published author. In 1981 Erdrich married Native American author Michael Dorris and together they published The World's Greatest Fisherman, which won the Nelson Algren Award in 1982. In 1984 she won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Love Medicine, which is an expansion of the story she cowrote with Dorris. Love Medicine was also awarded the Virginia McCormick Scully Prize (1984), the Sue Kaufman Prize (1985) and the Los Angeles Times Award for best novel (1985). In addition to her prose, Erdrich has written several volumes of poetry, a textbook, and short stories and essays for popular magazines. She has been the recipient of numerous awards for professional excellence, including the National Magazine Fiction Award in 1983 and a first-prize O. Henry Award in 1987. Erdrich has also taught writing at Johns Hopkins University and Dartmouth College.