Kathryn Wilder is the author of the memoir Desert Chrome: Water, a Woman, and Wild Horses in the West (Torrey House Press, May 2021). Her work has been cited in Best American Essays and nominated for the PEN America Literary Award and Pushcart Prize, and has appeared in such publications as High Desert Journal, River Teeth, Midway Journal, Fourth Genre, and Sierra, and in many anthologies and Hawai`i magazines. A graduate of the low-rez MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, Wilder was a 2016 Artist-in-Residence at Denali National Park and Preserve, finalist for the 2016 and 2019 Ellen Meloy Fund Desert Writers Award, and 2018 finalist for the Waterston Desert Writing Prize. She lives among mustangs in southwestern Colorado, where she ranches with her family in the Dolores River watershed.



“Testimony to the healing power of wildness . . . a candid memoir that interweaves a trajectory of loss, pain, and hard-won serenity with a paean to wild horses.” —KIRKUS REVIEWS

“Wilder’s love of horses and the land is the theme threaded through her, and her writing makes a heartsong of it all.” 
—LIDIA YUKNAVITCH, bestselling author of Verge and The Chronology of Water 

Desert Chrome journeys through parched valleys, on wild rivers, and into deep rock canyons on a unique quest. In this authentic, hard-won account of her life, Kathryn Wilder finds the warm, true hearts she’s been seeking and that deserve our humanity, healing, and a hell of a lot better future than they’ve been dealt. There’s a quiet heroine at the center of this story, yes, pointing toward a beautiful world. It can be ours if we’ll love better, lean closer, and listen to the voices, like Wilder’s own, well worth heeding from birth.”REBECCA LAWTONauthor of The Oasis This Time

“A raw and honest journey of addiction, love, trauma, and redemption—grounded in a deep love of place and all things mustang. The best memoirs reveal the deeply personal in order to see the larger world with renewed clarity and insight—this is one such book. As Wilder moves from heroin to horses, we see a substantive journey of recovery and strength—and ultimately, of resilience.” —LAURA PRITCHETT, author of Stars Go Blue

“I learned so much reading Kathryn Wilder’s book, Desert Chrome—about wild horses. About desert and water. About Kat. We were neighbors years ago, but the new paths along which, with smooth and stunning prose, she leads readers into the depths of her life suggest how little we know those close to us. And how huge life can be once we commit with our whole hearts to wildness.” —BROOKE WILLIAMS, author of Open Midnight

“For too long, the lone cowboy myth has corralled the American West in the barbed wires of dominion and destruction. Tangled in that telling are women and mustangs—their wildness, togetherness, and vulnerability. In Desert Chrome, Kathryn Wilder bucks against a story as desiccated as the deserts she has dwelled in—kicking hard enough to free what was bound, to redeem what was broken. Listen now, to the thundering of hearts and hooves. They’re coming for us, at last.” —AMY IRVINE, author of Air Mail and Desert Cabal

“A powerful coming-of-age story, into the age of a woman’s strongest power, when, with complete awareness of her past, she can, with might and strength, will the future before her.”CMARIE FUHRMAN, author of Camped Beneath the Dam

“‘Blame it or praise it,’ Virginia Woolf writes, ‘there is no denying the wild horse in us.’ Desert Chromeis the story of a landscape and the many ways the land sings us into being. It is the story of one of our most iconic North American species, Equus caballus, the wild horse. And, most of all, it is the story of a woman coming to know her own wildness—a wildness that is free, and sustaining, and on her own terms.” —JOE WILKINS, author of Fall Back Down When I Die and The Mountain and the Fathers

Desert Chrome galleys
Brumley Point and Temple Butte in the background
Chrome’s son, Remy
Spring Creek Basin Herd Management Area, Disappointment Valley, Southwest Colorado

11 thoughts on “About

  1. This is one of the most wonderful books I have read in a very long time. The author has such keen descriptive ability and she takes us with her in out into the desert, with the horses, into her heart. It is tender, raw, sweet, bitter and certainly provokes thought and great emotion. I applaud the author for being so brave, for telling her story as it is. It is a brilliant memoir. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  2. Dont know how I have missed THIS blog – remember seeing your name many times, and have been reading TJs blog for a few years. Look forward to this one.

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