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He was born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1949 and grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but as a young man he moved to Toronto and lived in Canada for many years, spending much time among native peoples in the Canadian wilderness. As a result of his long residence in Canada, much of his fiction is set there. Norman attended Western Michigan University and Indiana University. He has published numerous translations and retellings of the stories of native peoples of Canada as illustrated books for children. The Wishing Bone Cycle (1976) won the Harold Morton Landon Translation Prize from the Academy of American Poets. His books Northern Lights and The Bird Artist were both nominated for National Book Awards in Fiction. He has received a Lannan Award for fiction, a Guggenheim, the Whiting Award, as well as several NEA fellowships. Norman is married to poet Jane Shore, with whom he has one daughter. He teaches creative writing at the University of Maryland.
Between Heaven and Earth: Bird Tales from Around the World. Orlando: Gulliver Books, 2004.
The Bird Artist. New York: Farrar, Strauss, & Giroux, 1994.
The Chauffer: Stories. New York: Picador, 2002.
Devotion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2007.
The Girl Who Dreamed Only Geese, and Other Tales of the Far North. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1997.
The Haunting of L. New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2002.
How Glooskap Outwits the Ice Giants; and Other Tales of the Maritime Indians. Boston: Little, Brown, 1989.
In Fond Remembrance of Me. New York: North Point Press, 2005.
Kiss in the Hotel Joseph Conrad and Other Stories. New York: Summit Books, 1989.
The Museum Guard: A Novel. New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 1998.
The Northern Lights: A Novel. New York: Summit Books, 1987.
The Owl-Scatterer. Boston: Joy Street Books, 1987.
Trickster and the Fainting Birds. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1999.
Who-Paddled-Backward-With-Trout. Boston: Joy Street Books, 1987.
Essays, Compilations & Memoirs
My Famous Evening: Nova Scotia Sojourns, Diaries & Preoccupations. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2004.
Northern Tales: Traditional Stories of Eskimo and Indian Peoples. New York: Pantheon Books, 1990.
Born Tying Knots, told by Samuel Makidemewabe, Ann Arbor: Bear Claw Press, 1976.
Where the Chill Came From: Cree Windigo Tales and Journeys. San Francisco: North Point Press, 1982.
The Wishing Bone Cycle: Narrative poems from the Swampy Cree Indians. New York: Stonehill Pub., 1976.