Crime and the Cultural Landscape: A Series on Detective Fiction

Tony Hillerman

Listening Woman (1925- )


  • Born in 1925 into a farming family; grew up in Sacred Heart, Oklahoma, where most of his friends and classmates were Native American.
  • Married Mary Unzner in 1948; has six children.
  • Attended Oklahoma State University (1943); University of Oklahoma, B.A. 1946; and University of New Mexico, M.A. 1966).
  • Served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1945; awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart.


  • Worked as a news reporter and editor from the late 1940s to early 1960s..
  • From 1965 to 1985, professor of journalism at University of New Mexico at Albuquerque; now professor emeritus.
  • Received an Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America in 1974 for Dancehall of the Dead and a Grandmaster Award from them in 1991 for the body of his work.
  • Received the Special Friend of Dineh award from the Navajo Tribal Council in 1987 and the Ambassador Award from the Center for the Indian in 1992.
  • Inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, 1997.
  • First author to receive the prestigious Rittenhouse Award from the Rocky Mountain Book Publishers Association.

Major Writings

Mystery Novels
The Blessing Way
The Fly on the Wall (1971)
Dance Hall of the Dead (1973)
Listening Woman (1977)
The People of Darkness (1978)
The Dark Wind (1981)
Ghostway (1984)
A Thief of Time (1985)
Skinwalkers (1986)
Talking God (1989)
Coyote Waits (1990)
Sacred Clowns (1993)
The Fallen Man (1996)
The First Eagle (1998)
Hunting Badger (1999)

Selected Other Works
The Boy Who Made Dragonfly: A Zuni Myth (juvenile) (1972)
Indian Country: America's Sacred Land (1987)
Hillerman Country: A Journey through the Southwest with Tony Hillerman (1991)
The Mysterious West
(short story collection) (1994)
Finding Moon (novel) (1995

Biographical Sources, Critical Sources and Reviews

  • For critical and biographical information, see the following Gale publications:  Contemporary Authors, Volumes 29-32; Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series, Volumes 21, 42, and 65; and Contemporary Literary Criticism, Volume 62.   Gale Literary Database (Contemporary Authors Online) can be accessed online through a subscribing library at
  • Some print resources:
    The New Encyclopedia of the American West, ed. Howard R. Lamar, New Haven, CT, 1998.
    Talking Mysteries: A Conversation with Tony Hillerman (with Ernie Bulow) (1991)
    Tony Hillerman, by Fred Erisman, Boise, 1989.
    The Tony Hillerman Companion: A Comprehensive Guide to His Life and Work
    , ed. Martin Greenberg, 1994.
    Tony Hillerman: A Critical Companion, John M. Reilly, Westport, CT, 1996.
    Tony Hillerman: A Public Life, John Sobol, Toronto, 1994.
    Tony Hillerman's Indian Country Map and Guide, Time Traveler Maps, 1999.
  • Online resources:
    Hillerman Country
    "No mystery to Tony Hillerman's success as a best-selling author," by Bob Hoover, Oakland Post-Gazette Magazine, October 31, 1998.
    Tony Hillerman site (Crosswinds)
    The Edgar Awards--a brief description of award categories and winners.
    Announcement of the 1998 Rittenhouse Award
    Photograph by Marcus Sharpe

    Some online interviews with Hillerman:
    Book Page, "First Person," September 1998, interview by Rosemary Zibart
    ALSO Online Q & A with Tony Hillerman
    Writing the Southwest audio clip

Retired Discussion Series

Debbie Sturman, Director
425 South Main Street, P O Box 510
Lusk, WY 82225-0510
Phone: 307-334-3490
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