Leslie Marmon Silko
Saturday, March 21
Leslie Marmon Silko is considered one of the great masters of Native American literature. She was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and grew up on the Laguna Pueblo Reservation, but was never allowed to participate in the rituals of her people because of her mixed heritage. Silko received her B.A. with honors from the University of New Mexico in 1969.
A former professor of English and fiction writing, she is the author of novels, short stories, essays, poetry, articles, and film scripts. She has won prizes, fellowships, and grants from such sources as the National Endowment for the Arts and The Boston Globe. She was awarded the MacArthur "Genius Grant" in 1981 and Native Writers' Circle of the Americas Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994.
Her most recent book, The Turquoise Ledge: A Memoir, (Viking, October, 2010), "combines memoir with family history and reflections on the creatures and beings that command her attention and inform her vision of the world, taking readers along on her daily walks through the arroyos and ledges of the Sonoran desert in Arizona. Silko weaves tales from her family's past into her observations, using the turquoise stones she finds on the walks to unite the strands of her stories, while the beauty and symbolism of the landscape around her, and of the snakes, birds, dogs, and other animals that share her life and form part of her family, figure prominently in her memories. Strongly influenced by Native American storytelling traditions, The Turquoise Ledge becomes a moving and deeply personal contemplation of the enormous spiritual power of the natural world-of what these creatures and landscapes can communicate to us, and how they are all linked. It marks the return of the unique voice and vision of a gifted storyteller."
Silko is the author of many books, including Ceremony, first published in 1977 to widespread acclaim, and considered a standard selection of universities and colleges for Native American literature. Ms. Silko lives in Tucson, Arizona.