David Heska Wanbli Weiden, an enrolled member of the Sicangu Lakota nation, is author of the novel WINTER COUNTS (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2020). WINTER COUNTS is a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, and was named one of the Best Books of 2020 by Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, one of the 100 Best Books of 2020 by Amazon, and one of the 20 recommended books of the year by the Los Angeles Times. The novel was also selected as an Amazon Best Mystery and Thriller of the year, Best of the Month by Apple Books, an Indie Next pick, and was a main selection of the Book of the Month Club. The novel was the November choice of the BuzzFeed Book Club and the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Book Club. It was nominated for Best Debut Novel and Best Mystery & Thriller in the 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards, and also nominated for Book of the Year by the Book of the Month Club.
The novel received rave reviews from New York Times, Publishers Weekly (starred), Library Journal, 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, Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine, Crime Time, Mystery Scene, BOLO Books; Vol. 1 Brooklyn, South Florida Sun Sentinel, and Los Angeles Times.
It was mentioned as one of 2020’s most anticipated books by Library Journal, O, the Oprah Magazine, USA Today, Washington Post, Time, Salon, CrimeReads, 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.
The novel 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 in the New York Times, Shenandoah, Yellow Medicine Review, Transmotion, Criminal Class Review, Tribal College Journal, and other magazines. He’s the fiction editor for Anomaly, journal of international literature and arts, and 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 received the Spur Award from the Western Writers of America, was a finalist for the 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’s an alumnus of VONA, a Tin House Scholar, a MacDowell Fellow, a Ragdale Foundation resident, and received the 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 prounounced “Heh-ska Wahn-blee.” His nation, the Sicangu Lakota, is pronounced “See-chon-goo Lah-coat-ah.”
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