Louise Erdrich to join community conversation scheduled for Oct. 17


Wahpeton native and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louise Erdrich will join a community conversation about arts and humanities from 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17 at Chahinkapa Sculpture Park/Hughes Shelter, Wahpeton.

The event is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Three Rivers Art Council (TRAC). The organization is in partnership with the city of Wahpeton, Wahpeton Parks and Recreation, the Red Door Art Gallery and the North Dakota Council on the Arts.

Sunday will include a reception celebrating the Twin Towns arts and humanities scene, as well as Erdrich’s many writing accolades. Wahpeton Parks and Recreation Director Wayne Beyer said the occasion is casual, and a Q&A session will be held within the two-hour event. Pumpkin donuts and apple cider will be available to attendees, and there will be a prize drawing for signed copies of Erdrich’s various works. Masks and social distancing are appreciated.

“It’s an opportunity to celebrate Louise’s award and her presence,” Beyer said of the event.

Erdrich grew up in Wahpeton, graduating from Wahpeton High School in the class of 1972. She would later become a Wahpeton High School Hall of Famer. Erdrich was in the first class of women admitted to Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. She published her first novel in 1984, and has gone on to publish 28 novels.

Her most recent, “The Night Watchman” earned her the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in fiction. She has also earned National Book Critics Circle Award, and is a North Dakota Rough Rider Hall of Fame inductee.

“It’s always important to recognize and celebrate when local people experience such great success, particularly when there’s so much notoriety with it and positive attention. It brings that back to Wahpeton,” Beyer said.

Beyer said Erdrich always credits her childhood and growing up in Wahpeton as helping her form the writer she has become. She is inspiring to every young professional because she was a small town girl who went on to accomplish immense success. But she is especially inspiring to the arts and humanities community.

October is National Arts and Humanities Month. The month is meant to recognize the importance of arts in communities across the U.S., and was started by Americans for the Arts over three decades ago.

“The arts are the lifeblood of our communities, raising morale, creating community cohesion, and providing comfort during dark times, while also delivering a huge economic footprint. The sector has suffered devastating losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so it is vital that we support our creative workers in the months and years to come,” said Nolen V. Bivens, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts.

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