Sherman Alexie's Thoughts on the Underappreciated Genre of Young Adult Fiction

Sherman Alexie, author of the award-winning novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, on Young Adult fiction:

"A lot of people have no idea that right now Y.A. is the Garden of Eden of literature... One person asked me, ‘Wouldn’t you have rather won the National Book Award for an adult, serious work?’ I thought I’d been condescended to as an Indian — that was nothing compared to the condescension for writing Y.A."

Sherman Alexie (b. 1966) is an acclaimed American poet, novelist, short story writer, and winner of the 2007 National Book Award in Young People's Literature for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Alexie's work mixes events rife with despair with a wry brand of humor in order to tackle themes of the modern Native American experience. Born and raised on the Spokane Indian Reservation, Alexie imbued the protagonist of Part-Time Indian with many of his own personal traits and qualities. The novel deals with the social ramifications that affect a teenager who decides to attend school off the reservation.


"A lot of people have no idea that right now Y.A. is the Garden of Eden of literature... One person asked me, ‘Wouldn’t you have rather won the National Book Award for an adult, serious work?’ I thought I’d been condescended to as an Indian — that was nothing compared to the condescension for writing Y.A."

-Sherman Alexie, as quoted in the New York Times in 2008

Photo credit: "Sherman alexie 2007" by Larry D. Moore - © 2007 Larry D. Moore. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Sherman Alexie visited Big Think five years ago to discuss his writing career. You can watch the entire 21-minute interview here. Below is a clip in which the award-winning author discusses explains his process of "method writing":

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