Friday, February 17, 2023

Author David Treuer sits before a garden arbor in a black t-shirt, black glasses, and jeans, with his elbows on his knees and hands clapsed

Bestselling author and National Book Award Finalist David Treuer will give a talk titled “The trouble with tragedy: re-imagining the past, present, and future” at 5 p.m., Wednesday, March 1, at the Old Capitol Museum.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is the first in-person installment in the Creative Matters Lecture Series since February 2020. Upcoming talks in the series are being planned in collaboration with Hancher for the 2023-24 academic year.

“We are thrilled to host David Treuer for the return of the Creative Matters series,” said Kristy Nabhan-Warren, associate vice president for research, professor and V.O. and Elizabeth Kahl Figge Chair of Catholic Studies. “Professor Treuer's prolific work as a novelist, essayist, and non-fiction writer capture the surviving and thriving of modern Native American culture.”

Treuer is Ojibwe from Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, two Minnesota Book Awards, and fellowships from the NEH, Bush Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. His most recent book The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present was a New York Times bestseller, a National Book Award finalist, a Minnesota Book Prize winner, a California Book Prize winner, shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, and a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist. He divides his time between his home on the Leech Lake Reservation and Los Angeles, where he is a Professor of English at USC.

The son of Robert Treuer, an Austrian Jew and Holocaust survivor, and Margaret Seelye Treuer, a tribal court judge, David Treuer grew up on Leech Lake Reservation. After graduating from high school he attended Princeton University where he wrote two senior theses—one in anthropology and one in creative writing—and where he worked with Toni Morrison, Paul Muldoon, and Joanna Scott. Treuer graduated in 1992 and published his first novel, Little (Graywolf), in 1995. He received his PhD in anthropology and published his second novel, The Hiawatha (Picador), in 1999. His third novel The Translation of Dr Apelles (Graywolf and Vintage) and a book of criticism, Native American Fiction: A User’s Manual (Graywolf) appeared in 2006. The Translation of Dr Apelles was named a Best Book of the Year by the Washington Post, Time Out, and City Pages. He published his first major work of nonfiction, Rez Life: An Indian’s Journey Through Reservation Life (Grove), in 2012. His next novel, Prudence, was published by Riverhead Books in 2015. His essays and stories have appeared in The New York Times, Granta, Harper’s, Esquire, The Washington Post, Lucky Peach, The Los Angeles Times, among other outlets.

The Creative Matters lecture series is sponsored by the UI Office of the Vice President for Research, in collaboration with the UI Arts Advancement Committee. A Q&A session will follow his talk. The event is free and open to the public. To RSVP visit:

The Creative Matters lecture series, launched in Fall 2015, seeks to demonstrate that creativity and innovation are not only at the core of all research and discovery, but also central to our human experience. Our lineup of speakers includes artists, thinkers, builders, and doers who challenge conventional thinking about creativity, science, and artistic expression, and borrow from a range of influences and disciplines in their work.

The Office of the Vice President for Research is committed to forging new frontiers of discovery by providing resources and support to researchers and innovators at the University of Iowa, to promote a culture of creativity that enriches the campus, the state, and the world. Learn more at

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Casey Westlake in advance at 319-467-0039.