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Originally published Friday, March 26, 2010 at 3:14 PM

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Congratulations to Sherman Alexie for PEN/Faulkner Award

Novelist Sherman Alexie adds another award to his growing pile, this one the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction for "War Dances," his book of short stories, essays and poems.

ANOTHER big, and well-deserved, win for Sherman Alexie. He can add to his stack of prestigious honors the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for his collection of short stories, essays and poems titled "War Dances."

We have to share our regional pride and joy for a great writer getting his due.

The PEN/Faulkner Award is the largest peer-juried prize for fiction in the United States. Alexie, a Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, is the first Native American to receive it.

One of the judges, Al Young, former poet laureate of California, crystallized the book's obvious choice.

" 'War Dances' taps every vein and nerve, every tissue, every issue that quickens the current blood-pulse: parenthood, divorce, broken links, sex, gender and racial conflict, substance abuse, medical neglect, 9/11, Official Narrative vs. What Really Happened, settler religion versus native spirituality; marketing, shopping and war, war, war. All the heartbreaking ways we don't live now — this is the caring, eye-opening beauty of this rollicking, bittersweet gem of a book."

That says it all.

But let's also point out how Alexie's prose includes literary expanses that remain true to his Western roots and also delve directly to the heart of real lives, on the reservation and off.

Alexie's literary trophies include a 2007 National Book Award for Young People's Literature for the autobiographical novel, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," and a PEN/Hemingway award for first fiction for "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven."

He was also awarded the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Good literature endures. Without a doubt, Alexie's work will influence literature and readers for generations to come.

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