Tony Hillerman

Class of
Tony Hillerman

Tony Hillerman

“Growing up in rural Oklahoma helps you write about rural anyplace.”
Tony Hillerman, 2002


Oklahoma native Tony Hillerman grew up among Potawatomie, Seminole, and Sac and Fox Indians. He attended grade school at St. Mary’s Academy, a boarding school for Indian girls which admitted local farm boys as day students, and Konawa High School, where he did his first writing as class historian. After serving in the military, he earned a Journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma, spent 17 years as a reporter and newspaper editor, and earned a master’s degree in English at the University of New Mexico, where he spent 20 years as a Journalism professor. Both his popular mysteries and his non-fiction work reflect Hillerman’s interest in the southwest. He received the American Anthropological Association’s Media Service Award, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Public Service Award and, in 1991, was declared a Grand Master of the “Mystery Writers of America.”

Fun fact

During World War II, Tony Hillerman was injured in an explosion that broke both legs and severely burned one eye. He was awarded the Silver and Bronze stars and Purple Heart and was featured in an article about his letters home in The Daily Oklahoman. The journalist who wrote the article said, “You should be a writer.”

Oklahoma connections

Hillerman was born in Sacred Heart, Oklahoma.


Sacred Heart







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