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The Road to Here - Biographical notes from Deanne Stillman

Deanne Stillman is the author of Blood Brothers: The Story of the Strange Friendship Between Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill, Desert Reckoning: A Town Sheriff, a Mojave Hermit, and the Biggest Manhunt in Modern California History, Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West, Twentynine Palms: A True Story of Murder, Marines, and the Mojave, and Joshua Tree: Desolation Tango.


Produced and directed by John Carver, Wolf Creek Productions, Inc. Photographs of trail-riding and saddled horse at rest by Peggy Suzio.

Deanne Stillman is a widely published, critically acclaimed writer. Her books of literary nonfiction are place-based stories of war and peace in the modern and historical West. Her latest book is Blood Brothers. It's about the strange friendship between Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill, and also features Annie Oakley. It's framed by the Little Bighorn and Wounded Knee, and explores the spectacle of the Wild West show while Sitting Bull traveled with Cody and Oakley for four months in 1885. Part of it takes place at Standing Rock, where Sitting Bull lived and was assassinated. It received the 2018 Ohioana Award for nonfiction, was excerpted in Newsweek, received a starred review from Kirkus, was named a "best new history book" by Barnes and Noble, appeared on several "best of 2017" lists including two at The Millions, and was praised by Doug Brinkley, Ron Rosenbaum, Thomas Powers and others.

She also wrote Desert Reckoning based on her Rolling Stone piece,"The Great Mojave Manhunt," a finalist for a PEN Center USA journalism award and published in Best American Crime Writing. Desert Reckoning won the 2013 Spur Award for best western nonfiction, contemporary, the LA Press Club Award for best general nonfiction, and was named a Southwest Book of the Year. It received excellent reviews in many publications, including Newsweek, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Tucson Weekly, and Oregonian.

Her book, Twentynine Palms, was an LA Times bestseller and "best book of the year." Hunter Thompson called it "A strange and brilliant story by an important American writer," and it was reissued in a new, updated edition by Angel City Press in 2008, with a foreword by T. Jefferson Parker and a preface by Charles Bowden. The conclusion of a ten-year journey, the book explores the brutal murders of two young girls in a scenic Southern California military town by a Marine shortly after the Gulf War.

Deanne's book, Mustang, was also ten years in the making, asks why are we, a cowboy nation, destroying the horse we rode in on? Mustang was an LA Times "best book of the year," won the California Book Award silver medal for nonfiction, and was praised in the Atlantic Monthly, Economist, NPR's On Point, Orion, Seattle Times, Santa Fe New Mexican, Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Kirkus, PW, and numerous other publications. It has brought many into the campaign for wild horse and burro preservation, has been presented to President Obama as an important book to read about wild horses and American history, has helped raise funds for rescue organizations, and has led to the rescue of many horses headed to the slaughterhouse. It is currently under option, in part, for a film starring Wendie Malick, and it is coming soon in an audio edition featuring Anjelica Huston, Frances Fisher, Wendie Malick, John Densmore, Richard Portnow, and James Morrison. It recently inspired the alt-country duo Granville Automatic to write and record three songs for its debut CD, including "Blood and Gold."

In addition, Deanne's work appears in many publications, including the rumpus; Los Angeles Review of Books ("Letter from the West" column); New York Times (Magazine, Book Review, Arts & Leisure, Travel); High Country News; The Los Angeles Times; Boston Globe; Orion; Slate; Salon; Tin House; Gwarlingo, truthdig, and elsewhere. Her work is widely anthologized, and her plays have been produced and won prizes in festivals around the country. She has also written for film and television.

Her play "Billy the Kid and Lee Harvey Oswald Praise Citizenship in the American Dreamtime" directed by Darrell Larson was produced on Zoom for Highways in Santa Monica in May of 2020 and is now streaming on Vimeo. Her play, "Reflections in a D'Back's Eye," was also produced at Highways and directed by Darrell Larson on January 31 and February 1, 2020. It's based on her prose poem of the same title.

all material © Deanne Stillman, 2002-2020