Elizabeth Letts

NYT Bestselling Author
Novelist & Nonfiction Writer
Travels from: Laramie, WY

“Thanks to deeply sourced research and her own travels along Wilkins’ route, Letts vividly portrays an audacious woman whose optimism, courage, and good humor are to be marveled at and admired. Upbeat and touching, Wilkins’ story is the perfect pandemic escapist read.” – Booklist Starred Review

Elizabeth Letts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of both historical fiction and non-fiction. #1 New York Times Bestseller The Eighty-Dollar Champion was a 2011 Indie Next Pick, a Goodreads Reader’s Choice Finalist and winner of the 2012 Daniel P Lenehan Award for Media Excellence from the United States Equestrian Foundation and is currently in development as a feature film at MGM Studios.

Her second work of non-fiction, The Perfect Horse was a New York Times bestseller and the winner of the 2017 Pen USA Literary Award for Research Nonfiction and is available in a young reader edition.

Her most recent book, The Ride of Her Life, is the triumphant true story of a woman who rode her horse across America in the 1950s, fulfilling her dying wish to see the Pacific Ocean.

Her novel, Finding Dorothy, is a richly imagined novel which tells the story behind The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the book that inspired the iconic film, through the eyes of author L. Frank Baum’s intrepid wife, Maud.

She is also the author of two other books, Quality of Care and Family Planning, and an award-winning children’s book, The Butter Man. A graduate of Yale College and the Yale School of Nursing, she is a passionate equestrian, a former certified nurse-midwife, and she served in the Peace Corps in Morocco. She lives in Southern California and Northern Michigan.

Prepare an Invitation for:

The Ride of Her Life: The True Story of a Woman, Her Horse, and Their Last-Chance Journey Across America

Ballantine Books |
Nonfiction

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The triumphant true story of a woman who rode her horse across America in the 1950s, fulfilling her dying wish to see the Pacific Ocean, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Horse and The Eighty-Dollar Champion

“The gift Elizabeth Letts has is that she makes you feel you are the one taking this trip. This is a book we can enjoy always but especially need now.”—Elizabeth Berg, author of The Story of Arthur Truluv

In 1954, sixty-three-year-old Maine farmer Annie Wilkins embarked on an impossible journey. She had no money and no family, she had just lost her farm, and her doctor had given her only two years to live. But Annie wanted to see the Pacific Ocean before she died. She ignored her doctor’s advice to move into the county charity home. Instead, she bought a cast-off brown gelding named Tarzan, donned men’s dungarees, and headed south in mid-November, hoping to beat the snow. Annie had little idea what to expect beyond her rural crossroads; she didn’t even have a map. But she did have her ex-racehorse, her faithful mutt, and her own unfailing belief that Americans would treat a stranger with kindness.

Annie, Tarzan, and her dog, Depeche Toi, rode straight into a world transformed by the rapid construction of modern highways. Between 1954 and 1956, the three travelers pushed through blizzards, forded rivers, climbed mountains, and clung to the narrow shoulder as cars whipped by them at terrifying speeds. Annie rode more than four thousand miles, through America’s big cities and small towns. Along the way, she met ordinary people and celebrities—from Andrew Wyeth (who sketched Tarzan) to Art Linkletter and Groucho Marx. She received many offers—a permanent home at a riding stable in New Jersey, a job at a gas station in rural Kentucky, even a marriage proposal from a Wyoming rancher. In a decade when car ownership nearly tripled, when television’s influence was expanding fast, when homeowners began locking their doors, Annie and her four-footed companions inspired an outpouring of neighborliness in a rapidly changing world.

The Eighty-Dollar Champion (Adapted for Young Readers): The True Story of a Horse, a Man, and an Unstoppable Dream

Delacorte Press |
Middle Grade

Adapted from the #1 New York Times bestselling adult novel, this inspiring true story of a man and horse duo who rose to the top of the competitive equestrian world is one of unstoppable hope, inconceivable dreams, and the chance to have it all, perfect for animal lovers and history buffs alike.

On a bleak winter afternoon, Harry de Leyer first saw the horse he would name Snowman between the slats of a rickety truck bound for the slaughterhouse. Noting a spark in the horse’s eye, the Dutch immigrant bought the beaten-up animal for only eighty dollars and took him to the family’s modest farm on Long Island.

Though Snowman thrived in his new home, Harry needed money. Reluctantly, he sold Snowman to another farm a few miles down the road. But the shaggy horse had other ideas.

When he turned up back at Harry’s barn, dragging an old tire and a broken fence board, Harry knew that he had misjudged the horse. Snowman then began his extraordinary path to stardom as Harry trained him to show jump, taking Snowman all the way to the very top of the sport.

This dramatic and inspiring rise to stardom of an unlikely duo is based on the insight and recollections of the Flying Dutchman himself. Snowman and Harry’s story captured the heart of Cold War-era America–a story of unstoppable hope, inconceivable dreams, and the chance to have it all. Elizabeth Letts’s message is simple: Never give up, even when the obstacles seem sky-high. There is something extraordinary in all of us.

The Perfect Horse: The Daring Rescue of Horses Kidnapped During World War II

Delacorte Press |
Middle Grade
In this inspiring young readers adaptation of the New York Times bestseller, one American troop will save the world’s most precious horses during the final stretch of World War II.

When American Colonel Hank Reed and his soldiers captures a German spy, they uncover an unexpected secret: Hitler has kidnapped the world’s finest purebred horses and hidden them in a secret Czechoslovakian breeding farm. But, starving Russian troops are drawing closer and the horses face the danger of becoming food instead. With little time to spare, the small American troop cross enemy lines to heroically save some of the world’s most treasured animals.

Elizabeth Letts details the terrifying truth of Hitler’s eugenics program during World War II and shares the story of the courageous American troop dedicated to stopping it.

Highlighting bravery in the face of incredible odds, this tale will shed light on a little-known piece of our past and speak to history fans and animal lovers of every age.

★ “Spellbinding…a must-read.” —Booklist, Starred review

A Junior Library Guild Selection

Finding Dorothy: A Novel

Ballantine Books |
Fiction

This richly imagined novel tells the story behind The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the book that inspired the iconic film, through the eyes of author L. Frank Baum’s intrepid wife, Maud.

“A breathtaking read that will transport you over the rainbow and into the heart of one of America’s most enduring fairy tales.”—Lisa Wingate, author of Before We Were Yours

Hollywood, 1938: As soon as she learns that M-G-M is adapting her late husband’s masterpiece for the screen, seventy-seven-year-old Maud Gage Baum sets about trying to finagle her way onto the set. Nineteen years after Frank’s passing, Maud is the only person who can help the producers stay true to the spirit of the book—because she’s the only one left who knows its secrets.

But the moment she hears Judy Garland rehearsing the first notes of “Over the Rainbow,” Maud recognizes the yearning that defined her own life story, from her youth as a suffragette’s daughter to her coming of age as one of the first women in the Ivy League, from her blossoming romance with Frank to the hardscrabble prairie years that inspired The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Judy reminds Maud of a young girl she cared for and tried to help in South Dakota, a dreamer who never got her happy ending. Now, with the young actress under pressure from the studio as well as her ambitious stage mother, Maud resolves to protect her—the way she tried so hard to protect the real Dorothy.

The author of two New York Times bestselling nonfiction books, The Eighty-Dollar Champion and The Perfect Horse, Elizabeth Letts is a master at discovering and researching a rich historical story and transforming it into a page-turner. Finding Dorothy is the result of Letts’s journey into the amazing lives of Frank and Maud Baum. Written as fiction but based closely on the truth, Elizabeth Letts’s new book tells a story of love, loss, inspiration, and perseverance, set in America’s heartland.

The Perfect Horse: The Daring U.S. Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis

Ballantine Books |
Nonfiction

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion, the remarkable story of the heroic rescue of priceless horses in the closing days of World War II

WINNER OF THE PEN AWARD FOR RESEARCH NONFICTION

In the chaotic last days of the war, a small troop of battle-weary American soldiers captures a German spy and makes an astonishing find—his briefcase is empty but for photos of beautiful white horses that have been stolen and kept on a secret farm behind enemy lines. Hitler has stockpiled the world’s finest purebreds in order to breed the perfect military machine—an equine master race. But with the starving Russian army closing in, the animals are in imminent danger of being slaughtered for food.

With only hours to spare, one of the U.S. Army’s last great cavalrymen, Colonel Hank Reed, makes a bold decision—with General George Patton’s blessing—to mount a covert rescue operation. Racing against time, Reed’s small but determined force of soldiers, aided by several turncoat Germans, steals across enemy lines in a last-ditch effort to save the horses.

Pulling together this multistranded story, Elizabeth Letts introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters: Alois Podhajsky, director of the famed Spanish Riding School of Vienna, a former Olympic medalist who is forced to flee the bomb-ravaged Austrian capital with his entire stable in tow; Gustav Rau, Hitler’s imperious chief of horse breeding, a proponent of eugenics who dreams of genetically engineering the perfect warhorse for Germany; and Tom Stewart, a senator’s son who makes a daring moonlight ride on a white stallion to secure the farm’s surrender.

A compelling account for animal lovers and World War II buffs alike, The Perfect Horse tells for the first time the full story of these events. Elizabeth Letts’s exhilarating tale of behind-enemy-lines adventure, courage, and sacrifice brings to life one of the most inspiring chapters in the annals of human valor.

The Wonderful Women of Oz: The true story of L. Frank Baum’s feminist wife and mother-in-law and the secret message of feminism embedded in the Wizard of Oz

Secrets from the Wizard of Oz: How the life and times of L. Frank Baum and his family influenced America’s favorite homegrown fairy tale

Breeding the Perfect Horse: How horse-breeding became entangled with eugenics and Nazis, and what we learned from this

Our Noble Reflection: How the horse has shaped history, technology, and society

The Animal-Human Bond: How stories about animals reveal our deepest humanity

From Minivan Mom to Bestselling Author: How an over-40 nurse and mom of four became a #1 bestselling author, and how all of us can tap into and realize our dreams

Truth or Fiction: How non-fiction and historical fiction are similar and different

We are All Historians: How to shape, collect, and document your personal and family history

Writing the War: How to find and preserve your family’s military history

Rescue! What stories of animal rescue teach us about ourselves

Resources for Book Clubs

Elizabeth’s Blog

Honors, Awards & Recognition

#1 NYT Bestseller
Pen America Literary Award Winner
Indiebound Next List

Media Kit

By clicking the link below your will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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