Welcome. This blog was started three years ago by four aspiring writers who are now three published authors of novels and short stories (Barbara Elsborg, Dawn Jackson, Arlene Webb) and one multiple award-winning writer (Laurie Green). We blog to keep readers updated on our new releases or other random topics. We hope you enjoy your stay. :] Coffee?
Monday, October 27, 2008
Tony Hillerman 1925-2008
Tony Hillerman, author of Navajo Tribal Police mystery novels featuring Navajo police officers Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee — died in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Sunday of pulmonary failure. He was 83.
Born May 27, 1925, in Sacred Heart, Okla., population 50, Tony Hillerman was the son of August and Lucy Grove Hillerman. They were farmers who also ran a small store. It was there that young Tony listened spellbound to locals who gathered to tell their stories.
Hillerman wrote many novels including "The Blessing Way" in 1970, "People of Darkness" in 1978, his commercial breakthrough "Skinwalkers," 1987, "A Thief of Time," which made several best seller lists, "Talking God" and "Coyote Waits." In all, he wrote 18 books in the Navajo series, the most recent titled "The Shape Shifter."
Many of his novels explored cultural conflicts and differences in undersstanding. Tony Hillerman said, "I want Americans to stop thinking of Navajos as primitive persons, to understand that they are sophisticated and complicated."
Although he was accused of exploiting the Navajo culture for personal gain, the Navajo Tribal Council honored him in 1987 with its Special Friend of the Dineh Award. He said he took greater pride in that than from the many awards bestowed by his peers, including the Golden Spur Award from Western Writers of America and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America, which elected him its president.
Although best-known for the Navajo series, he also wrote more than 30 other books, including the memoir, "Seldom Disappointed"; and books on the history and natural beauty of the Southwest.
In "The Spell of New Mexico" a collection of essays, Hillerman wrote "Those places that stir me are empty and lonely. They invoke a sense of both space and strangeness, and all have about them a sort of fierce inhospitality."
He also edited or contributed to more than a dozen other books including crime and history anthologies and books on the writing craft.
I had the great pleasure to meet Mr. Hillerman when we were both members of Southwest Writers, and I will always remember him as being very personable and down-to-earth. He will certainly be missed.