Leslie Marmon Silko

Writer Class of June 1981
location icon Location
Tuscon, Arizona
age iconAge
33 at time of award

About Leslie's Work

Leslie Marmon Silko is a writer, poet, and filmmaker who uses storytelling to promote the cultural survival of Native American people.

Silko’s writings rework valuable and little-known Native American legends and myths.  Her themes have dealt with traditions, lore, and storytelling as vehicles for relating the history and culture of Native American life.  Fusing old and new ritual and ceremonies, Silko demonstrates how traditional stories apply to the realities of modern-day reservation life.  Her books include Laguna Woman (1974), Ceremony (1977), Storyteller (1979), Almanac of the Dead (1991), Yellow Woman (1993), and Gardens in the Dunes (1999).

She is also the author of Sacred Waters: Narratives and Pictures (1993) and Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit: Essays on Native American Life Today (1996), which explores the importance that literature and language play and the integral nature of land and life to Native cultures, as well as the U. S. government’s racist treatment of Native Americans.  She has taught American Indian literature at the University of New Mexico and the University of Arizona. 


Silko received a B.A. (1969) from the University of New Mexico, and studied law (1969-71) in the American Indian Law School‘s Fellowship Program at the University of New Mexico.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

Published on June 1, 1981

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