KU News Release

Oct. 21, 2009
Contact: William J. Harris, Department of English, (785) 864-2519

Award-winning Native American author to speak on cultural literacy at KU

David Treuer

More Information

LAWRENCE — Award-winning Native American novelist and critic David Treuer will speak at the University of Kansas.

Treuer of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota will address “Morality and Cultural Literacy: What Role Does Morality Play in Writing Culture?” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, at Alderson Auditorium in the Kansas Union. Treuer is the 2009 John F. Eberhardt Memorial Lecturer, sponsored by KU’s Department of English.

His most recent novel, “The Translation of Dr. Apelles: A Love Story,” was named a best book of the year by the Washington Post, Time Out and City Pages in 2006. His earlier novels are “The Hiawatha” (1999) and “Little” (1995).

In 2006, Treuer also published “Native American Fiction: A User’s Manual.” New York Times writer Dinitia Smith described the collection of critical essays as “a kind of manifesto, which argues that Native American writing should be judged as literature, not as cultural artifact, or as a means of revealing the mystical or sociological core of Indian life to non-Natives.”

Toni Morrison, Treuer’s former professor at Princeton University, told the Times: “He’s exploring and revealing a truer history of Native Americans. We tend, even now, to like ethnic literature to contain our notion of what the iconography is.”

Washington Post book critic Ron Charles, commenting on “Native American Fiction,” noted that Treuer observes, “After enduring 500 years of genocide, it may seem in poor taste to call a Native American writer out for being incautious, but for literature to remain healthy, we’ve got to have these serious critical discussions.”

Treuer is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, the 1996 Minnesota Book Award and fellowships from National Endowment for the Humanities, the Bush Foundation and the Guggenheim Foundation. His essays and stories have appeared in Esquire, TriQuarterly, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and the online magazine Slate.

Treuer teaches English and creative writing at the University of Minnesota. He studied anthropology and creative writing at Princeton where he began his first novel, “Little.” He completed a doctorate in anthropology at the University of Michigan in 2000. He is the son of Robert Treuer, an Austrian Jew and Holocaust survivor, and Margaret Seelye Treuer, a tribal court judge.

Recent Eberhardt lecturers at KU include journalist Leonard Pitts and poet Lyn Hejinian.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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