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by Laura Pritchett

When a wildfire bears down on a mountain community, residents are forced to gather for safety—resulting in a tangle of love and lust that pulls people from their isolation, friendships that form across political divides, and a new hope for rethinking the ways humans inhabit the burning planet. Playing with Wildfire is a literary landscape that is an experiment in form: an astrology report; a grant application-turned-love-story; a phone call from Mother Earth; an obituary for a wildfire; a burned mountain’s conversation with a lone woman and an injured bear.


Every story captures how fire affects the human psyche and life, and how destruction can lead to renewal.

February 2024 | Fiction | 9781948814898 | 140 pp | $18.95 


“In this gorgeous novel, we see the fire in everything it touches: the deer, the house, the lungs, the heart. The form of Playing with {Wild}Fire, like fire itself, mutates and shifts, offering up glimmers of dreams and truth within the ruin.”

—BETH PIATOTE, author of The Beadworkers: Stories


“Incendiary, evocative writing that crackles on the page. Part love letter to the western slope of Colorado, part environmental manifesto. Pritchett paints a complete and tender picture of one small community’s reckoning with the worst wildfire in Colorado history. A must-read for residents of the Western slope of Colorado.”

—MOLLY IMBER, Maria’s Bookshop


“For those of us who live in the West, wildfire is no longer a distant threat but a regular companion. Playing with {Wild}Fire captures this reality by embracing the whole of life in the Anthropocene—music, food, sex, illness,hope, motherhood, addiction, work, and more—in stories as breathtakingly true and tender as they are, yes, playful.”

—ANA MARIA SPAGNA, author of Pushed: Miners, a Merchant, and (Maybe) a Massacre


“Celebrated nature writer Laura Pritchett takes the reader on a journey that is at once singular and daring, intimate and illuminating, through a collection of stories that explore the myriad ways in which a massive wildfire affects a small Colorado mountain community. Playing with {Wild}Fire is a must-read for all of us enduring unprecedented wildfires as well as anyone who wants to experience the possibilities of brilliant storytelling.”

—CMARIE FUHRMAN, author of Camped Beneath the Dam: Poems and co-editor of Native Voices


“Inventive, sassy, urgent. Playing with {Wild}Fire is rich with surprises of all kinds, from start to finish.”

–ALYSON HAGY, author of Scribe: A Novel


Playing with {Wild}Fire is a wise and imaginative collection in which aspen trees singwarnings, moose and raven describe a terrifying inferno, and Mother Earth sends urgent postcards to humanity. Pritchett’s expansive exploration of what community means in the face of climate change fueled megafires includes a cast of endearing and original characters who split apart and come together and find ways to keep living joyfully.”

—CLAIRE BOYLES, author of Site Fidelity


LAURA PRITCHETT is the author of five novels, two nonfiction books, and editor of three environmental anthologies, and her work has been the recipient of the PEN USA Award, the Milkweed National Fiction Prize, the WILLA, the High Plains Book Award, several Colorado Book Awards, and others. Her best-known novel, Stars Go Blue, has been optioned for TV rights. She’s published over 300 essays and short stories in national venues, most recently in The Sun, Terrain, Camas, Orion, Creative Nonfiction, and others. She directs the MFA in Nature Writing at Western Colorado University and holds a PhD from Purdue University. When not writing or teaching, she can be found sauntering around the West, especially her home state of Colorado.

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