“Twisty and electric. . . . Wurth handles the suspense with an expert hand. The novel unfolds in short, tense chapters that glide between past and present, and often torque into hair-raising turns.” —New York Times Book Review (Editor’s Choice)

Erika T. Wurth’s novel White Horse is a New York Times editors pick, a Good Morning America buzz pick, and an Indie Next, Target book of the Month, and BOTM Pick. She is both a Kenyon and Sewanee fellow, has published in The Kenyon Review, Buzzfeed, and The Writer’s Chronicle, and is a narrative artist for the Meow Wolf Denver installation. She is an urban Native of Apache/Chickasaw/Cherokee descent. She lives in Denver with her partner, step-kids and two incredibly fluffy dogs.

In White Horse, Erika tells the story of Kari James, an Urban Native, and a fan of heavy metal, ripped jeans, Stephen King novels, and dive bars. Kari’s journey toward a truth long denied by both her family and law enforcement forces her to confront her dysfunctional relationships, thoughts about a friend she lost in childhood, and her desire for the one thing she’s always wanted but could never have…

White Horse is a gritty, vibrant debut novel about an Indigenous woman who must face her past when she discovers a bracelet haunted by her mother’s spirit.

Erika T.'s Featured Titles

White Horse: A Novel

Flatiron Books |

“This ghost story is a perfect example of new wave horror that will also satisfy fans of classic Stephen King.” —Silvia Moreno-Garcia, author of The Daughter of Doctor Moreau and Mexican Gothic

Erika T. Wurth’s White Horse is a gritty, vibrant debut novel about an Indigenous woman who must face her past when she discovers a bracelet haunted by her mother’s spirit.

Some people are haunted in more ways than one…

Urban Native Kari James is a fan of heavy metal, ripped jeans, Stephen King novels, and dive bars. When she’s not waitressing or bartending, she hangs at her favorite bar, the White Horse. There, she tries her best to ignore her past and the questions surrounding her mother who she thinks abandoned her when she was just two days old.
But when her cousin Debby uncovers an ancient bracelet that once belonged to Kari’s mother, her mother’s ghost begins to haunt her, and a monster enters her dreams—then her reality. Her father, permanently disabled from a car crash, can’t help her. Her Auntie Squeaker seems to know something but isn’t eager to give it all up at once. Debby’s anxious to help, but her controlling husband keeps getting in the way. And when the secret the bracelet contains promises something Kari desperately desires, Kari decides she must uncover what really happened to her mother all those years ago.
Kari’s journey toward a truth long denied by both her family and law enforcement forces her to confront her dysfunctional relationships, guilt surrounding a friend she lost to hard living, and her desire for the one thing she’s always wanted but could never have…


You Who Enter Here

State University of New York Press |

Finalist for the 2020 Colorado Book Award in the Literary Fiction category presented by the Colorado Center for the Book
Finalist for the 2019 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award in the Multicultural (Adult Fiction) category
2020 In the Margins Top Ten and Fiction Recommendation

Matthew has grown up in hell. His father is gone, and his mother drinks and hooks up with men who abuse Matthew and his sister. He finally decides to hit the streets of Farmington to get away and to drink himself to death–in his mind, his destiny. He meets Chris, who saves him, takes him home, cleans him up, gets him sober, and initiates Matthew into one of Albuquerque’s Native American gangs, the 505s. The 505s have been around for generations. They now sell heroin, and it’s their subservience to the Mexican gangs that has allowed them to survive. However, Chris decides that his little Native American gang deserves to be as big as the Mexican gangs in Albuquerque, bringing in new business from deep inside Indigenous communities in Mexico. Then, Matthew falls in love with Chris’s girlfriend. Matthew’s story is one of terrible darkness, but also, unexpected beauty and tenderness.

Buckskin Cocaine

Astrophil Press |

Erika T. Wurth’s Buckskin Cocaine is a wild, beautiful ride into the seedy underworld of Native American film. These are stories about men maddened by fame, actors desperate for their next buckskin gig, directors grown cynical and cruel, and dancers who leave everything behind in order to make it, only to realize at thirty that there is nothing left. Poetic and strange, Wurth’s characters and vivid language will burn themselves into your mind, and linger.

This is the raw stuff, the loud stuff, the hard stuff, the true stuff. It’ll infect you in a way you won’t realize at first, too. Not until days later, when you can’t remember if you read this or you lived it. Trust me: you did both. —Stephen Graham Jones

BUCKSKIN COCAINE is a big voicey chorus of drugs, sex, booze, movies, and most of all the drumbeat of want, need, and desire. —Kyle Minor.

A Thousand Horses Out to Sea

Mongrel Empire Press |

A Thousand Horses Out to Sea is a dark, feminine collection of poetry. There is song here, stomp dance and corrido and deep, sad lyricism. The poems range from prose to semi-narrative, but each one shows us a unique portrait of human life. Set mainly in desert Southwest, inside the glittering Indian city of Albuquerque, the lives in these poems are full of cruelty, beauty, and pain. This book is reveals the strange, intimate space that sex creates, and illuminates what happens when you try to reach towards something else, and transcend into beauty amidst the bruised flower of love.

Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend

Curbside Splendor Publishing |

Sixteen-year-old Margueritte wants out. Out of her small town, where girls get pregnant young and end up stuck, like her mom. Out of a family where her Native American mother won’t leave her white, alcoholic, abusive father. Margueritte hopes if she and her cousin Jake sell enough weed, they can at least escape to Denver one day. That’s when Mike comes to town. Like Margueritte, he loves to read, he’s funny, and he’s Indian. A coming-of-age novel about the female, urban Indian experience, Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend is not only a gritty, unexpectedly funny, page-turning novel about a girl who just wants a little bit more–it’s an instant classic.

Indian Trains

West End Press |

ndian Trains is about small town Indians, about community and family, about thieves, prostitutes, train stealers, drug dealers, loners, jerks, dreaming alcoholics, and the ones who did everything but all of that. It is about an entirely new tribe: urban mixed-bloods of multiple tribes who are respectful of where their ancestors have come from but are increasingly going to Indian powwows, Indian bars, and Urban Native organizations for cultural fulfillment rather than only returning to reservations to find out who they are. They are about 70 percent of the Indian population–the truly unsung peoples of America.

This is a funny, sad, and powerful book. Each poem is lovely and the cumulative effect is devastating.–Sherman Alexie

The country between poetry and stories is where this story-singer comes from. Tales of polished obsidian. Full of night, fascinating, and frightful. Glistening and brilliant. Small enough to hold in the hand. Sharp enough to tear open the heart. I was left breathless.–Sandra Cisneros

Indian Trains is a marvelous, intimate poetic journey. There are hardy native families here, the immediacy of survivors and traditionalists. The incomparable images arise from worried hearts, irony, the actual centers of cultural memory. Erika Wurth writes about a woman on a leather chair, ‘a revolution in her heart, ‘ as she waits for ‘metaphors to change everything.’ And they do in this brave, inspired selection of poems.–Gerald Vizenor, Almost Ashore


Structuring Your Novel

A lot of MFA programs and creative writing classes in general focus on, when comes to fiction, the short story. But most folks are most interested in writing a novel. In this craft lecture, we are going to talk about the major “beats” that take place in a great majority of the novels that people read and why they’re important, so that you can end up with your own concrete “beat sheet” or roadmap for your novel. We’ll also talk about a number of alternative structures.


Strategizing Around All Stages of Your Manuscript

Whether you end up with a smaller, independent press, or a large, traditional New York press, getting there can be difficult—and once you do have a book under contract, how do you bring your audience to it? Networking, residencies, conferences, and everything around your book, is exactly what people often don’t talk about. In this seminar, I’ll talk about putting away the dreamier aspects of the book life (the good stuff, like working on your craft!) and looking at what the career paths are that folks can take to support a literary life. We’ll also talk about what happens at all stages of your career—and what you can do to help utilize your specific skill set that might bring publishers, agents, and editors to you—and to your book, once it’s about to be out in the world.


What Speculative Literature Can Do That Realism Can’t

The American cannon is filled with excellent literature that takes place in the now, and that involves an ordinary, civilian person in slightly extraordinary circumstances. However, speculative fiction—an umbrella term for Horror, Science-Fiction and Fantasy, allows the author to move into a far-flung future or planet—or into the supernatural. Often billed as exclusively commercial, speculative literature is a genre that allows the author to explore all of the conventions of literary fiction (depth of theme, complex characterization, attention to form/structure) but with additional dimensions. Horror gives us supernatural creatures that can represent not only big, human fears—but political and cultural ones as well. Science-fiction often explores the bigger theme of climate change. Fantasy, horror’s lighter side, allows us to take the stories of our ancestors, and move them into new, more liminal territories. Overall, speculative fiction allows us the space we need to address big questions, ones that can’t be answered in within the confines of realism/drama.


Pulling From Every Genre

Whether you’re writing something that goes under the umbrella of what is now being deemed speculative or whether you’re writing a crime novel, it’s important to read widely, and take the tactics that all genres and forms are generally good at employing, and employ them in your work. In the crime genre, structure is often king, and there’s much to be said for looking at a tried-and-true form. In speculative fiction, an umbrella term that these days often includes science fiction, fantasy and horror, the imagination that goes into building worlds is something to take away. In realism/drama—whether the form is more narrative, or post-modern (aka literary), because these have been the literary fiction norms, writers in these genres are often masters at dialogue, inner-monologue, complex characterization, deviation from the formula in terms of form, and attention to language. In this talk, I speak to the histories of each genre and the ways to concretely pull from the tactics of every one, regardless of which genre you’re writing in.

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Honors, Awards & Recognition

New York Times Editors Pick
Indie Next Pick
TODAY 8 Books to Ready for Native American Heritage Month
Good Morning America Buzz Pick
Target Book of the Month
BookBub 12 Must Read Books by Indigenous Authors
Good Housekeeping 20 Best Native Writers
2020 Colorado Book Award Finalist
2020 In the Margins Top Ten and Fiction Recommendation
2019 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award Finalist

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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