David Treuer was born in Washington, D.C., to a father who is a Jewish Holocaust survivor and an Ojibwe (Chippewa) mother. He was raised on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation with his extended family. After graduating, he attended Princeton University where he worked with Toni Morrison, Joanna Scott and Paul Muldoon.
While getting his PhD at the University of Michigan, he published his first novel, "Little." In 1999, he published his second novel "The Hiawatha" and received his Phd. Beginning in 2000, he became a professor of literature and creative writing at the University of Minnesota. In 2006, he published "The Translation of Dr Apelles" and a collection of essays, "Nativa American Fiction: A Users Manual." In 2012, he published "Rez Life" and in 2014 "Prudence." He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a Best Nature and Science Writing Award, two Minnesota Book Awards and fellowships from the Bush Foundation. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and is a professor of English at USC. His essays, journalism, and reviews have appeared in Harpers, The New Yourk Times, The Washington Post, Esquire, Lucky Peach, Saveur and Orion among others. He divides his time between Los Angeles and his home on the Leech Lake Reservation. His most recent work is "The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee."