Karen Louise Erdrich was born June 7, 1954 in Little Falls, Minnesota. The oldest of seven children, Erdrich grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota. She entered Dartmouth College (Hanover, New Hampshire) in 1972, part of the college's first coeducational class. She graduated from Dartmouth in 1976, with a Bachelor of Arts. Following graduation, she returned to North Dakota to teach poetry and writing to young people through the State Arts Council. She next attended Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland) and graduated with a Master's degree in 1979. Louise Erdrich published a book of poetry, Jacklight, in 1984. Her first novel was entitled Love Medicine and was published by Holt, Rinehart and Winstonin 1984. The book earned her the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction for 1984 and the Sue Kaufman Prize for Fiction from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, also for 1984. She has published several other well respected novels, including The Beet Queen (1986), Tracks (1988), The Crown of Columbus (1991), The Bingo Palace (1994), Tales of Burning Love (1996), The Antelope Wife (1998) and The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse (2001).