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Sherman Alexie, 'Sitcom American'

'Ten Little Indians'
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'Ten Little Indians'

Author and poet Sherman Alexie writes about being a contemporary Native American, influenced by television sit-coms and popular music as much as fry bread and pow-wows. "I think I'm actually the first practitioner of the Brady Bunch school of Native American literature," he tells NPR's Renee Montagne in an interview that covers a great deal of territory, including his most recent collection of short stories, Ten Little Indians.

A Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, Alexie was born in 1966 and grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Wash. He earned his bachelor's degree in American Studies at Washington State University.

Alexie has written many books of poetry, including Old Shirts & New Skins, One Stick Song, I Would Steal Horses and The Business of Fancydancing. He has also written novels and short stories, such as Reservation Blues, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and Ten Little Indians.

The movie Smoke Signals, based on one of the stories from The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, won the Audience Award and the Filmmakers Trophy at the Sundance Film Festival in 1998. Alexie wrote and directed The Business of Fancydancing, released in 2002. The movie was based on his 1992 book of poetry by the same name.

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