2020 Finalist of the Kraken Book Prize for Middle-Grade Fiction
Heather Mateus Sappenfield’s writing, whether fiction or nonfiction, explores the adventures that fill life, often in the Rocky Mountain landscape that has been her lifelong home. She’s fascinated by the many selves each of us become in our varied roles throughout the day (some we like, some we do not), and her writing often delves into the interior adventure of juggling those multiple selves. She believes that taking chances daily—whether internal or external, mild or extreme—are what makes us grow and feel alive. Her own exploits have included packing up her orange, coughing AMC Gremlin and leaving home at seventeen; 24-hour mountain bike racing; backcountry ski touring; competing in the Mountain Bike World Championships; ski instructing for Vail Resorts; being a mom; and winning bicycling’s Race Across America—San Diego, California to Atlantic City, New Jersey—as part of a four-woman relay team.
What Heather loves most, though, is the adventure of writing a story. Her work has been reviewed as “…finely observed…painstakingly crafted…Every element has been fitted in a way that rewards even an unpracticed eye turned to the hidden stitchery of fiction.” Among the recognitions she’s received are the Danahy Fiction Prize, the Arthur Edelstein Prize, the V Press LC Book Compilation Prize, three Pushcart Prize nominations, and finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Award and the Colorado Book Awards.
Heather lives in a tiny log home in Vail, Colorado. She’s taught narrative workshops at Colorado Mountain College, Western Colorado University and Pacific University, where she earned her MFA. When she’s not writing or teaching, you’ll probably find her pedaling her mountain bike or ski touring in the backcountry. Find out more about her at heathermateussappenfield.com.