Author Profile

Deanne Stillman

Deanne Stillman

Deanne Stillman is a widely published, critically acclaimed writer.  Her books include Desert Reckoning: A Town Sheriff, a Mojave Hermit, and the Biggest Manhunt in Modern California History, based on a Rolling Stone piece and winner of the 2013 Spur Award for best contemporary nonfiction, LA Press Club Award winner, and a Southwest Book of the Year. 

She also wrote Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West, an LA Times "best book of the year," winner of the California Book Award silver medal for nonfiction, and currently under option, in part, for a film starring Wendie Malick. Mustang has been presented to President Obama as the go-to book on wild horses and US history, and helped launch the conversation about wild horses that is ongoing today.

In addition, Deanne is the author of the cult classic Twentynine Palms: A True Story of Murder, Marines, and the Mojave, an LA Times "best book of the year" which Hunter Thompson called "A strange and brilliant story by an important American writer." 

Currently, she's writing Blood Brothers for Simon and Schuster, and she writes the "Letter from the West" column for the LA Review of Books.  Her work has appeared in many other publications (including the NY Times, Orion, The Rumpus, Salon, Slate), and is widely anthologized.  She's a member of the core faculty at the UC Riverside-Palm Desert Low Residency MFA Creative Writing Program, where she teaches nonfiction.

"Deanne Stillman spoke at our store when her book, Desert Reckoning, was released. She has a great way with the audience. Her summary of the events in her book was riveting. And, her ability to field questions from the audience was excellent, leading to some lively discussions."
-- Trudy Mills, Owner, Antigone Books, Tucson, Arizona

"Deanne Stillman's reading and talk at Casa Libre was wonderfully engaging. She blends history and storytelling to create an unforgettable experience for writers across genre."
-- TC Tolbert, Assistant Director, Casa Libra en la Solana, Tucson, Arizona

"It is always a pleasure to host Deanne Stillman at our library. We find Deanne to be an excellent author and her presentations are always engaging and informative. She brings with her a wealth of information regarding her subject matter and passion for writing. Previous attendees were enthralled with her topic and our evaluations of her program were uniformly favorable. I would highly recommend Deanne Stillman to any professional group seeking to education and inspire its members."
-- Dana Vinke, Principal Librarian of Operations, Torrance Public Library, Torrance, California

"Deanne Stillman is not only a truly gifted writer, she presents well. She has humor, insight and if need be, visuals to support her work. She is at ease on the podium or stage and takes her time. She has a grounded presence."
-- Cheryl Montelle, Curator, Desert Stories Reading Series, Joshua Tree, California

"Deanne Stillman did a fine job as a panelist at the Tony Hillerman Conference. She was well prepared, articulate and gave the audience the practical audience they had come for. It was a pleasure to work with her."
-- Anne Hillerman, Co-founder, Tony Hillerman Conference, Santa Fe, New Mexico

For more about Deanne and her works, go to

Reviews of Blood Brothers: The Story of the Strange Friendship between Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill

Thoughtful and thoroughly well-told?just the right treatment for a subject about which many books have been written before, few so successfully.
-- Kirkus Review

Reviews of Desert Reckoning

One of the greatest gifts of this book is how Deanne Stillman is able to open our hearts to people we might otherwise judge or dismiss... One can't help but be filled with gratitude and awe toward Deanne Stillman -- her clear eye, the depth of her research, her brave and compassionate imagination. She takes us on a journey as full of desolation and grandeur as the desert itself.
-- Gayle Brandeis, Los Angeles Review of Books

[The Mojave Desert] now has its own poet laureate in Deanne Stillman... [Desert Reckoning] is the most powerful and important writing about the place and its denizens since Mary Austin's classic The Land of Little Rain... . The dark tale she returns with is one of aching heartbreak and haunting beauty. It is about the terror and beauty of the Great American Desert, and of the shadowy landscape of the human soul... . This fiery-hot mosaic of the book sizzles from its opening pages. Its finely drawn characters and taut narrative emerge from the ancient deserts of our dreams and make real our fears. Deanne Stillman is a literary shaman who has conjured a violent and potent vision of our disturbing life and times--a vision without judgment, but filled with empathy and wonder. This is not natural history, nor is it true crime. It is something entirely new that Stillman has created from deep within the sun-blasted heart of the American dream.
-- Jon Shumaker, Tucson Weekly

Videos featuring Deanne Stillman

Interview with the LA Review of Books