Laura Pritchett, Ph.D.

Headshot of Laura Pritchett

Interim Director, Nature Writing

Education
B.A., Colorado State University, English, 1993
M.A., Colorado State University, English, 1995
Ph.D., Purdue University, Literature/Creative Writing second field, 2004
Phone
970.988.6528
Email
lpritchett@western.edu

Biography

Laura Pritchett is the author of five novels. She began her writing journey with the short story collection Hell’s Bottom, Colorado, which won the PEN USA Award for Fiction and the Milkweed National Fiction Prize. This was followed by the novels Sky Bridge, Stars Go Blue, Red Lightning, and The Blue Hour, which garnered other awards. Stars Go Blue, her bestselling novel, has been optioned for film.

She’s also written two nonfiction books, Great Colorado Bear Stories and Making Friends with Death: A Field Guide to Your Impending Last Breath. Environmental issues are close to her heart, and she’s editor of three anthologies about conservation: Pulse of the River, Home Land, and Going Green: True Tales from Gleaners, Scavengers, and Dumpster Divers. 

Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Sun, Salon, High Country News, The Millions, Publisher’s Weekly, The Normal School and many others. Her first play, Dirt: A Terra Nova Expedition, was produced last year. 

She grew up on a ranch in northern Colorado with eight siblings and hundreds of weird animals, including a pet racoon and blind pigeon. She still resides in Colorado, has two teenage kids in college, and spends free time walking and cloudgazing. You can find out more at her website.

Publications

Books – Fiction

  • The Blue Hour: A Novel. Counterpoint Press, 2017. Starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal. Listed by PBS as “Top 10 books that will make you think about what it is to be human.” Winner of the Colorado Book Award
  • Red Lightning: A Novel. Counterpoint Press, 2015
  • Stars Go Blue: A Novel. Counterpoint Press, 2014. Starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal. Winner of the High Plains Literary Award. Finalist for the WILLA, the Colorado Book Award, and the Mountains & Plains bookseller award. Movie option
  • Sky Bridge. Minnesota: Milkweed Editions, 2005. Winner of the WILLA Award. Finalist for the Dublin International Book Award and the Colorado Book Award
  • Hell’s Bottom, Colorado. Minnesota: Milkweed Editions, 2001 (short stories). Winner of the PEN/USA Fiction Prize and the Milkweed National Fiction Prize

Books – Nonfiction

  • Making Friends with Death: A Field Guide to Your Impending Last Breath. Viva Editions, 2017
  • Great Colorado Bear Stories. Montana: Riverbend Press, 2012
  • Anthologies – as editor or co-editor
  • Going Green: True Tales from Gleaners, Scavengers, and Dumpster Divers, (editor and contributor.) University of Oklahoma Press, 2009. Essays on gleaning/dumpster diving. Finalist for the Colorado Book Award
  • Pulse of the River: Colorado Writers Speak for the Endangered Cache la Poudre (co-editor and contributor). Johnson Books, 2007. Essays and poetry on the Cache la Poudre River in northern Colorado. Finalist for the Colorado Book Award
  • Home Land: Ranching and a West that Works (co-editor and contributor). Johnson Books, 2007. Essays and poetry on ranchland preservation and the future of the New West. Winner of the Colorado Book Award

Plays 

  • Dirt: A Terra Nova Expedition. Full-run premiere at Bas Bleu Theatre in Fort Collins, Colorado in April 2017. https://www.basbleu.org/

External Professional Affiliations

  • Fiction Editor, High Desert Journal, spring 2017-present
  • Guest Fiction Editor, The Normal School, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, California, winter 2017-present 
  • Honorary Board Member, Center for the Study of the American West, Canyon, TX, 2017-present
  • Board Member, 2006-2010 – The Rocky Mountain Land Library (www.landlibrary.org)
  • Board Member, 2006-2012 – Colorado Art Ranch