Meet Louise Erdrich, author of the Women’s Prize 2022 longlisted novel The Sentence. A book The New York Times says ‘considers the haunting power of books.’

With a background in bookselling, Louise Erdrich was perfectly positioned to write a novel about the power of books. We grabbed a quick five minutes with the author to find out more.

Describe in three words how it feels to be longlisted for the 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Surprised, Gratified, Chocolate.

What inspired you to write The Sentence?

There’s no explaining why I want to write the book I write – I simply do not know.  I don’t really feel I have a choice in this matter.

Can you describe The Sentence in one sentence?

A fierce woman returns from prison to work in an Indigenous bookstore and is haunted by a dead customer who always wanted to be Indigenous.

The Sentence by Louise Erdrich

The Sentence

by Louise Erdrich

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Are there any locations that have a special connection for the book?

Oh yes, the bookstore is based on the bookstore that I started with my daughters, Birchbark Books in Minneapolis.

What was the first thing you ever wrote?

I couldn’t write yet, so my mother wrote down a story as I told it to her.  I wove the cover of the book from strips of red and yellow paper.  It was a memoir – a cloud’s memoir.

Why did you become a writer?

It was the only thing that compelled me.