One of "The New Yorker's" 20 top writers for the 21st century, author, poet, and screenwriter Sherman Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington, but it wasn't until a college professor recognized his "intensity of language, passion, and energy" that he fully committed to writing. Shortly after, his first books of poetry were published, and he began developing into a gifted orator, telling tales of contemporary American Indian life with razor sharp humor, unsettling candor, and biting wit. His novels, such as "Reservation Blues," "Indian Killer," and "The Toughest Indian in the World," have won numerous awards and accolades. The National Book Award-winning "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" was named "Time's" best Young Adult Book of all time. In 1998, Alexie wrote and produced the film "Smoke Signals," an adaptation of his book "The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven." The movie went on to win the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy at the Sundance Film Festival. He was recently awarded a 2014 Literature Award by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Alexie is the guest editor of 2015's Best American Poetry. Presented in partnership with the Department of English Visiting Writer Series.