David Heska Wanbli Weiden, an enrolled citizen of the Sicangu Lakota nation, is author of the novel WINTER COUNTS (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2020), nominated for the 2021 Edgar Award for Best First Novel, as well as the Lefty, Barry, Hammett Prize, VCU Cabell, Reading the West, and Colorado Book Award. The book was the winner of the 2021 Spur Award for Best Contemporary Novel. WINTER COUNTS, an IndieBound and Amazon bestseller, is a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and was named one of the Best Books of 2020 by NPR, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Amazon, Sun Sentinel, LitReactor, CrimeReads, Deadly Pleasures, Air Mail, MysteryPeople, and BOLO Books. The book was also selected as an Amazon Best Mystery and Thriller of the year, an Indie Next pick, Best Noir Fiction and Best Debut of the Year as well as a Notable Selection for Best Crime Novel by CrimeReads. The novel was a main selection of the Book of the Month Club, Best of the Month by Apple Books, and was the November choice of the BuzzFeed Book Club and the AWP Virtual Book Club. The book was released in 2021 in France by Gallmeister Editions and titled JUSTICE INDIENNE. The novel is also being translated into German, Turkish, and Japanese, and has been released in a large-print edition in the U.S.
In addition to the Edgar Award, WINTER COUNTS was awarded Best Contemporary Novel and Best First Novel by the Western Writers of America. The book has been nominated for the Hammett Prize for Literary Excellence, the Lefty Award for Best Debut Mystery Novel by Left Coast Crime, and the Barry Award for Best First Novel. The book was also shortlisted for the Colorado Book Award and longlisted for the VCU Cabell First Novel Award and the 2021 Reading the West Book Award for Debut Fiction. The novel was a semifinalist for Best Debut Novel and Best Mystery & Thriller in the 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards, and the Book of the Month Club nominated it for Book of the Year.
The novel received rave/positive reviews from the New York Times, Publishers Weekly (starred), Library Journal, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Shelf Awareness, Booklist, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Denver Post, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, BookPage, Air Mail, LitHub, Crime Fiction Lover Magazine, Criminal Element, Fredricksburg Free-Lance Star, Colorado Sentinel, Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine, Crime Time, Mystery Scene, BOLO Books; Vol. 1 Brooklyn, South Florida Sun Sentinel, Rain Taxi, and Bookreporter.
It was mentioned as one of 2020’s most anticipated books by O, the Oprah Magazine, USA Today, Washington Post, Time, Salon, CrimeReads, Library Journal, Mystery Tribune, BuzzFeed, The Rumpus, Electric Lit, Betches, Shondaland, Dandelion Chandelier, Popsugar, Debutiful, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Observer, Lit Hub, AARP Magazine, The Millions, The Writer, and Book Riot.
WINTER COUNTS is the story of a local Native American enforcer on the Rosebud Indian Reservation who becomes obsessed with finding and stopping the dealer who is bringing increasingly dangerous drugs into his community. It’s a Native thriller, an examination of the broken criminal justice system on reservations, and a meditation on Native identity. Benjamin Percy, author of The Dark Net, says, “The full-throttle, can’t-put-it-downness of this novel is a fact. WINTER COUNTS is a hell of a gripping debut, perfectly plotted, and David Heska Wanbli Weiden is a major new voice in crime fiction, indigenous fiction, and American literature.”
Weiden is also the author of the children’s book SPOTTED TAIL (Reycraft, 2019), a biography of the great Lakota leader and winner of the 2020 Spur Award from the Western Writers of America. He’s published work in the New York Times, Shenandoah, Yellow Medicine Review, Transmotion, Criminal Class Review, Tribal College Journal, and other magazines. He teaches creative writing at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, the MFA program in Writing and Publishing at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and the low-residency MFA program at Western Colorado University.
Weiden was also a finalist for the 2020 Colorado Book Award, longlisted for the PRISM International Creative Nonfiction Award, shortlisted for the Briarpatch Creative Nonfiction Award, and winner of the Tribal College Journal fiction award.
He received his MFA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts, his law degree from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. He was a Tin House Scholar, MacDowell Fellow, Ragdale Foundation resident, VONA alumnus, and received the 2018 PEN/America Writing for Justice Fellowship. He’s an active member of the Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Writers of America, and the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers. He’s Professor of Native American Studies and Political Science at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and lives in Colorado with his two sons.
His last name, Weiden, is pronounced “Why-den.” Heska Wanbli is pronounced “Heh-ska Wahn-blee.” His nation, the Sicangu Lakota, is pronounced “See-chon-goo Lah-coat-ah.”
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