“Storytelling is looking someone in the eye and making a human connection.” – Erika Bolstad

Erika Bolstad is author of Windfall, a narrative nonfiction project scheduled to be published by Sourcebooks in January 2023. Set on the prairies of North Dakota. Windfall begins with a mysterious email that arrives from Erika’s mother shortly before her death, saying she’d inherited mineral rights. Erika set out at the height of the oil boom to unearth the story behind the bequest, in search of the source of the whispers heard on the Great Plains: We could be rich.

Erika wrote about climate change adaptation in the United States for E&E’s Climatewire. In that job she traveled the country covering the intersection of politics, science, business and culture, with an emphasis on how people across America are coping with climate change in their neighborhoods.

Before that, she was a reporter in the McClatchy Washington Bureau, where she wrote about environmental issues and served as the Washington correspondent for the Miami Herald. Erika also spent four years in the bureau covering Washington for the Anchorage Daily News and the Idaho Statesman. Her work on the Larry Craig scandal for the Statesman was a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news.

At the Miami Herald, Erika covered politics, the state legislature, local government and hurricanes — including Hurricane Katrina from New Orleans. She got my start as a journalist at the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C., and The Item in Sumter, S.C. In March 2020, she completed a master’s degree in multimedia journalism at the University of Oregon.

 

Erika's Featured Titles

Windfall

Sourcebooks |
Memoir

Beneath the windswept North Dakota plains, riches await…

At first, Erika Bolstad knew only one thing about her great-grandmother, Anna: she was a homesteader on the North Dakota prairies in the early 1900s before her husband committed her to an asylum under mysterious circumstances. As Erika’s mother was dying, she revealed more. Their family still owned the mineral rights to Anna’s land—and oil companies were interested in the black gold beneath the prairies. Their family, Erika learned, could get rich thanks to the legacy of a woman nearly lost to history.

Anna left no letters or journals, and very few photographs of her had survived. But Erika was drawn to the young woman who never walked free of the asylum that imprisoned her. As a journalist well versed in the effects of fossil fuels on climate change, Erika felt the dissonance of what she knew and the barely-acknowledged whisper that had followed her family across the Great Plains for generations: we could be rich. Desperate to learn more about her great-grandmother and the oil industry that changed the face of the American West forever, Erika set out for North Dakota to unearth what she could of the past. What she discovers is a land of boom-and-bust cycles and families trying their best to eke out a living in an unforgiving landscape, bringing to life the ever-present American question: What does it mean to be rich?

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Coming soon!

Erika’s Recent Work

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news

Media Kit

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

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