Debra Magpie Earling

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Debra Magpie Earling
Born (1957-08-03) August 3, 1957 (age 59)
Spokane, Washington
Occupation Novelist, short story writer, University of Montana English professor
Ethnicity Bitterroot Salish
Alma mater University of Washington ; MA in English, MFA in Fiction Writing, Cornell University

Debra Cecille Magpie Earling (born August 3, 1957 Spokane, Washington) is a Native American novelist, and short story writer.[1] She is the author of Perma Red and The Lost Journals of Sacajewea, which was on display at the Missoula Museum of Art in late 2011.[2] Her work has also appeared in Ploughshares and the Northeast Indian Quarterly.


She is of the Bitterroot Salish (tribe).[3]

She is a graduate of the University of Washington, and holds both an MA in English and an MFA in Fiction Writing from Cornell University.[4]

Earling is currently a faculty member in the English Department at the University of Montana at Missoula.[5][6]



  • Perma Red. BlueHen Books. 2002. ISBN 978-0-399-14899-6. 
  • The Lost Journals of Sacajewea. Editions Koch. 2010. 



Debra Magpie Earling's debut novel Perma Red is something of a miracle. The University of Montana creative writing professor began writing it in 1984 and, over the years, it has been through at least nine different rewrites, trimmed from an epic-length 800 pages to a compact 288, burned to a crisp in a house fire, and rejected by publishers who loved the writing but thought the original ending too dark and brutal. Through it all, Earling persevered and the novel stands as a testament to her faith and patience.[9]


  1. ^ Kay Juricek; Kelly J. Morgan (1997). Contemporary Native American Authors: A Biographical Dictionary. Fulcrum Pub. ISBN 978-1-55591-917-7. 
  2. ^ "The Lost Journals of Sacajawea: Debra Magpie Earling with Photo-Interventions by Peter Rutledge Koch" (PDF). Missoula Art Museum. Retrieved 2014-11-03. 
  3. ^ "Debra Magpie Earling". Native American Authors. Retrieved 2014-11-03. 
  4. ^ "Debra Earling". Cornell Writers. Retrieved 2014-11-03. 
  5. ^ "Debra Magpie Earling". The University of Montana Creative Writing Program. Archived from the original on February 28, 2012. Retrieved 2014-11-04. 
  6. ^ "Debra Earling". The University of Montana - Department of English - People - Faculty. Archived from the original on 2010-11-09. Retrieved 2014-11-04. 
  7. ^ "Debra Magpie Earling". John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Archived from the original on 2014-11-04. Retrieved 2014-11-04. 
  8. ^ "Debra Earling". NEA. Retrieved 2014-11-04. 
  9. ^ "Review | Perma Red by Debra Magpie Earling | "Stepping Forward", January Magazine, David Abrams". Retrieved 2015-01-05. 

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