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Author Anne Hillerman continues the Navajo detective stories her father Tony Hillerman made popular. Her debut novel, Spider Woman’s Daughter, received the Western Writers Spur Award as best first novel. That book and the five novels that followed were all New York Times best sellers. Her seventh mystery, The Sacred Bridge, launched April 12, 2022. When she’s not working, Anne likes to read, cook, ski and travel. She lives in Santa Fe with frequent trips to the Navajo Nation.    


About Anne Hillerman


When I was a youngster, I remember grownups asking if I wanted to be a writer like my father, Tony Hillerman. I lied and said no, but secretly I did. My Dad was my hero. He went to work in the morning and came home with something wonderful---stories. At first, they were stories of the news he had covered as a journalist; then stories of the students he taught at the University of New Mexico and, finally, stories of the joys and challenges of his ultimate career as a fiction writer.

Stories have been like oxygen to me from the time I was old enough to climb onto a welcoming lap and snuggle up with the storyteller. My parents shared their deep passion for reading: something vitally important to a potential writer. And they shared their sense of adventure. My five brothers and sisters and I would pile into the family station wagon for trips exploring the Southwest. 

From reading stories, the next step was writing my own. I started with true stories for student newspapers, then writing and editing for “real“ newspapers, radio newsrooms and magazines. That segued into opinion columns, feature stories and reviews, and then to travel guides and other non-fiction books.


After Tony Hillerman died in 2008, I got the happy idea to write a novel that would keep the stories he created alive by putting his characters to work solving new crimes. One of his minor characters, Navajo police officer, Bernadette Manuelito, became my central protagonist.

Here I am, many novels later, amazed and delighted at what these characters still have to say. And eager to see what happens next.

 Among Anne's career highlights are: 

  • Award winning art, education and NM legislative reporter

  • Editorial page editor and restaurant critic for two newspapers

  • Initiated and organized the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference and Wordharvest writing workshops 

  • Author of seven non-fiction books 

  • Frequent Keynote speaker and writing workshop presenter

  • Helped create the Tony Hillerman Prize for best first mystery novel

Anne's Awards Include 

  • 2021 New Mexico Department of Agriculture Rounders Award “to honor those who live, promote and articulate the Western way of life”

  • 2021 New Mexico Book of the Year, New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards

  • 2021 Best mystery fiction and best cover design, New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards

  • The 2019 Frank Waters Award for literary excellence

  • Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award for Best Non-fiction (Tony Hillerman's Landscape)

  • Spur Award, Best First Mystery, Western Writers of America 

  • New Mexico Press Association, first place, editorials

  • Best Novelist, Reader's Choice Finalist Albuquerque Journal, Santa Fe Reporter, and Albuquerque The Magazine 

  • Founders Award, New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards   

  • Finalist, Zia Award for best novel 

  • Communicator of Achievement, New Mexico Press Women 

  • Finalist, Oklahoma Book Awards

  • Amazon Best Mystery