Patrick Dearen

Patrick Dearen Biography

The Spur Award-winning author of twenty-five books, Patrick Dearen was born in 1951 and grew up in the small West Texas town of Sterling City. He earned a bachelor of journalism from The University of Texas at Austin in 1974 and received nine national and state awards as a reporter for two West Texas daily newspapers.

An authority on the Pecos and Devils rivers of Texas, Dearen also has gained recognition for his knowledge of old-time cowboy life. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he preserved the firsthand accounts of 76 men who cowboyed before 1932. These interviews, along with decades of archival study, have enriched Dearen’s fifteen novels and led to ten nonfiction books.

His new novel is Haunted Border, based on the Brite Ranch Raid of Christmas Day in 1917, when 40-45 riders attacked Brite headquarters near the Texas-Mexico border at a point 140 miles southeast of El Paso. His other recent fiction releases are Apache Lament (winner of the Will Rogers Gold Medallion), Dead Man’s Boot (Peacemaker Award finalist), and The Illegal Man, a modern-day western about an illegal Mexican immigrant seeking work on a West Texas ranch. His other novels include The Big Drift (winner of the 2015 Spur Award for best western traditional novel), When Cowboys Die (Spur Award finalist), and To Hell or the Pecos, inspired by actual nineteenth-century events on the Butterfield and Goodnight-Loving trails. For the background of another novel, Perseverance, Dearen turned to Depression-era Texas and hobo life.

Dearen has also been honored by Western Fictioneers, Academy of Western Artists, San Antonio Conservation Society, West Texas Historical Association, and New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A backpacking enthusiast and ragtime pianist, he makes his home in Midland, Texas with his wife Mary.

Interview with Patrick on In Search of the West Texas Wordsmith (Air date: 7/13/2019)