Laura Pritchett’s “Hell’s Bottom, Colorado” Selected for Wheat Ridge Reads

Wheat Ridge, Colo. – Adult and teen readers are invited to explore Hell’s Bottom, Colorado, a collection of linked short stories by Colorado author Laura Pritchett, during Wheat Ridge Reads this summer. This annual, city-wide event culminates in three gatherings in September, where author Pritchett will discuss the book and readers’ reactions to it.

Winner of the Milkweed National Fiction Prize and the PEN USA Award for Fiction, Hell’s Bottom, Colorado, focuses on one extended ranching family in Colorado, unfolding the stories of various family members with warmth and gritty reality. On Hell’s Bottom Ranch, a section of land below the Front Range, there’s Renny, a women who prefers “a little Hell swirled with her Heaven,” and her husband, Ben, who’s “gotten used to smoothing over Renny’s excesses.” A day of haying turns violent in “A New Name Each Day.” In “Rattlesnake Fire,” Ben and his estranged sister must decide whether to put aside their differences to save families trapped by a forest fire. There is a daughter who plays it too safe and a daughter plagued by only “half-wanting” what life has to offer. In Pritchett’s masterful hands, the western landscape becomes a zone of familial crisis and, sometimes, transcendence.

Raised on a Colorado ranch, Pritchett is the author/editor of seven books, a writing coach, and an activist. Still a Colorado resident, she is on the faculty at Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, and provides one-on-one coaching as well as workshops on a variety of writing topics. She has published more than 100 essays and short stories in magazines (including O Magazine, High Country News, and 5280). She holds a PhD from Purdue University.

To support community discussion, Pritchett will appear at two public Wheat Ridge Reads events in September: Books and Brews, 6 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 16, at Clancy’s Irish Pub, 7000 W. 38th Ave.; and Wheat Ridge Library Thursday Morning Book Group, 9 a.m., Sept. 17. Pritchett will also meet with Wheat Ridge High School students and staff to discuss the book and writing techniques during an assembly at the school. Hell’s Bottom, Colorado, is available at local libraries and local bookstores, and is available in downloadable formats from online retailers.

Wheat Ridge Reads is sponsored by the Wheat Ridge Cultural Commission, Jefferson County Public Library and the Wheat Ridge Library.

About Wheat Ridge Reads
Wheat Ridge Reads is a citywide book club, sponsored by the Wheat Ridge Cultural Commission. Presented annually, Wheat Ridge Reads is designed to promote literacy and a shared reading experience throughout the city.
About Jefferson County Public Library
Jefferson County Public Library (JCPL) is the third largest public library in the state of Colorado. Our mission is to meet the changing needs of our communities by providing information and environments that promote personal growth and community transformation. A JCPL library card is the smartest card in your wallet, giving you access to an online library that operates 24 hours per day, seven days per week, a network of 10 libraries, a Bookmobile, a Traveling Children’s Library and an eTrain mobile computer training lab, as well as books, periodicals, CDs and DVDs, audio and eBooks, and computer and Internet resources. For more information contact your local library or visit

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