Laura Pritchett is the author of four novels: Red Lightning (Counterpoint, 2015) Stars Go Blue (Counterpoint, 2014), Sky Bridge (Milkweed Editions, 2009), and Hell's Bottom, Colorado (Milkweed Editions, 2001). Awards for these novels include the PEN USA Award, the Milkweed National Fiction Prize, the WILLA Award, the High Plains Book Award for Fiction, the Colorado Book Award, and others.

She is also the author of Great Colorado Bear Stories (nonfiction) and an editor of three anthologies: Pulse of the River, Home Land, and Going Green: True Tales from Gleaners, Scavengers, and Dumpster Divers.
Laura has also published over 200 essays and short stories in numerous magazines, including The Sun, O (Oprah’s) Magazine, Orion, High Country News, Writers on the Range, Salon, The Normal School, High Desert Journal, OnEarth, Natural Resources Journal, 5280 (Denver's Magazine), The Pinch, and others. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart on several occasions. She is the recipient of several residencies, including Ucross (Wyoming), Earthskin (New Zealand), and Playa (Oregon), and has been recognized by several organizations for environmental stewardship.
She holds a Ph.D. in English (Contemporary American Literature) from Purdue University.
When not writing or teaching, she can generally be found outside in Colorado’s mountains.

You can reach Laura at

Follow Laura on twitter @authorlaura

To read a recent piece in O Magazine (part of a segment that won the ASME Award)
click here

For a recent interview
click here

Some short stories
click here

And for more fiction click here

For some nonfiction, try one of these

A recent article click here

To read an article
on Colorado’s flooding

click here

From the publisher:
Stars Go Blue
is a triumphant novel of the American family, buffered by the workings of a ranch and the music offered by the landscape and animal life upon it. With an unflinching look into the world of Alzheimer's, both from the point of view of the afflicted and the caregiver, the novel offers a story of remarkable bravery and enduring devotion, proving that the end of life does not mean the end of love.

“Strength of character and simplicity of language comparably complement a rich underpinning of savagery and sadness as Pritchett sensitively navigates the end of a life and sublimely realizes its enduring legacy.”— Booklist, starred review

“A brilliant novel, filled with heartache and humor.” — Library Journal, starred review

Stars Go Blue manages to be both warm-hearted and violent at once -- a complex deeply-imagined family tale which finds unexpected gifts at its conclusion. Laura Pritchett is a writer who knows country life on the Rocky Mountain front range thoroughly and she conveys this physical world expertly, beautifully out of her long experience. Within this specific place her clear depiction of character and suspenseful delivery of story compel us to the last exact word.” — Kent Haruf, author of Plainsong and Eventide

Starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist
Winner of the High Plains Book Award
Movie rights optioned
Translation rights -- Portuguese

Ten years ago, Tess Cross left her newborn daughter with her sister and hightailed it out of what she called NoWhere, Colorado. Now she returns to the eastern plains of Colorado, full of raw rage at herself and at the universe, yearning for the life she never led and the daughter she left behind. As a levantona who has been running drugs and illegal immigrants beyond the US-Mexican border, she's knowingly entered into a harsh and dangerous world. But suddenly her world has become darker than she can bear: The largest wildfire in Colorado history is blazing. Immigrants are dead. She's haunted by the memory of a Mexican woman she couldn't save and a lost Mexican girl she did. Traffickers--of both immigrants and drugs--are now hunting her down. But most of all, Tess is at the mercy of her own traumatized soul, and the weight of it is cracking her apart. In the act of coming home, Tess must now face her dying mother, her sister, her daughter, and most importantly, herself.

This book broaches timely topics essential in the West--immigration, rural poverty, wildfires, PTSD--with suspense and gritty wisdom as well as Pritchett's trademark lyricism and grace.

“Pritchett is a writer whose prose is as passionate as it is intelligent. Hers is a rare talent that does not let her compassion for humanity get in the way of her attention to the paradoxes of being human, nor its obligations. Red Lightning is a star in the West: a smart, tender, crisp piece of work about the opportunities for redemption and blessings that exist in every hour.” — Rick Bass, author of All the Land to Hold Us

Twenty-two-year-old Libby works at a small grocery store in a luckless town in the rural West. Endlessly daydreaming, she sees herself becoming an artist, moving out of her mother's house to have her own, learning to play guitar. When her younger sister Tess becomes pregnant, Libby convinces her not to have an abortion by promising to raise the child, a promise she never really imagines she'll have to keep. Thrust into instant motherhood when Tess gives birth and then promptly leaves, Libby finds herself caring for a crying infant and overwhelmed by the task. The colorful cast of characters who rise up to support her from the hippie beekeeper, Ed Mongers, to Miguel Mendoza, a single father widowed by suicide, and various other folks from the small ranching community--round out this spirited story. Libby's lucid, painfully honest observations and her complex interiority comes with a fresh perspective on what it means to inhabit a world that has little room for optimism.

Pritchett's characters deal with the hidden underbelly of rural life the drug trafficking, the people who make a living driving undocumented workers over the border, the litany of low-wage jobs. As Libby struggles to make sense of the world, she discovers humor and courage in unlikely places. As the beekeeper Ed Monger says to Libby, "I think we should all be living more dangerous lives. We have to be careful, yes. But when we get too fearful, we become small."

"From beginning to end, Sky Bridge grabs you by the heart and never lets you go."
The Denver Post

Winner of the PEN USA for Fiction and the Milkweed National Fiction Prize, Pritchett’s debut book is a collection of linked short stories. On Hell's Bottom Ranch, a section of land below the Front Range, there are women like Renny who prefer a "little hell swirled with their heaven" and men like Ben, her husband, who's "gotten used to smoothing over Renny's excesses." There is a daughter who plays it too safe and a daughter plagued by only "half-wanting" what life has to offer. The ranch has been the site of birth and deaths of both cattle and children, as well as moments of amazing harmony and clear vision.

"Displays the talent of a brilliant, new writer."
The Rocky Mountain News

"Pritchett excels at juxtaposing the sensuous with the severe, the rapturous with the repugnant." -– Booklist

— “A valuable and wide-ranging work of scholarship, love, and respect, Pritchett’s
book is a great source for the history of bears in Colorado—black and grizzly.” — Rick Bass, author, Why I Came West and The Lost Grizzlies: A Search for Survivors in the Wilderness of Colorado


Going Green: True Tales from Gleaners, Scavengers, and Dumpster Divers For Going Green, Pritchett has gathered over twenty writers to tell their personal stories of Dumpster diving, eating road kill, salvaging plastic from the beach, and forgoing another trip to the mall for the thrill of bargain hunting at yard sales and flea markets. They look not just at the many ways people glean but also at the larger, thornier issues dealing with what re-using—or not—says about our culture and priorities.


The Tattered Cover


Pulse of the River
"This is a book with all the blessed diversity of the Cache la Poudre itself, moving through all the wildlands and farmlands, uplands and flatlands of nature and human nature conjoined." — George Sibley. (Royalties donated to the Colorado Water Trust)

Home Land: Ranching and a West that Works
"Trust me: This is not a collection of essays. It is a string of pearls. This book throbs with the beating heart of the West." — Ed Marston. (Royalties donated to the Colorado Cattleman's Ag Land Trust)

West of 98
West of 98