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Leslie Marmon Silko Biography

(1948– ), New Mexico Quarterly, Laguna Women, Ceremony, Almanac of the Dead, Storyteller

American novelist, short-story writer, and screenwriter, born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, educated at the University of New Mexico. Silko's writing is rooted in her complex heritage, part Mexican, part Pueblo Indian, part white; she has said of her work that ‘at the core of my writing is the attempt to identify what it is to be a half-breed or mixed blooded person; what it is to grow up neither white nor fully traditional Indian’. Her first published story, ‘The Man to Send Rain Clouds’ (1969), published in the New Mexico Quarterly, arose from a college writing assignment. A selection of her poems was published as Laguna Women (1974), Laguna being the name of the pueblo on which Silko was raised. She won high critical acclaim for Ceremony (1977), a novel about a Second World War veteran which immediately established her as one of the foremost writers in contemporary Native American literature. A later novel, Almanac of the Dead (1991), was praised for its historical and moral insights of the Americas told from a Native American perspective. Storyteller (1981) is an assembly of poems, legends, stories, and photographs; The Delicacy and Strength of Lace (1985), edited by Anne Wright, is a collection of letters between Silko and the poet James Wright. Black Elks is a screenplay written for Marlon Brando. Leslie Marmon Silko (1980) by Per Seyersted is a critical introduction to her work. See also ethnicity and Native American Literature.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Seven Against Thebes (Hepta epi Thēbas; Septem contra Thebas) to Sir Walter Scott and Scotland