Carrie La Seur, author, Billings Montana

Carrie La Seur’s critically acclaimed debut novel The Home Place (William Morrow 2014) won the High Plains Book Award, was short-listed for the Strand Critics Award for Best First Novel, and was an IndieNext pick, a Library Journal pick, one of the Great Falls Tribune’s Top 10 Montana Books for 2014, and a Florida SunSentinel Best Crime Fiction pick for 2014. Her writing appears in such diverse media as Daily Beast; the Des Moines Register; Eyes on the International Criminal Court; Grist; the Guardian; Harvard Law and Policy Review; High Country News; Huffington Post; Iowa Farmer Today; Kenyon Review Online; Mother Jones; Oil, Gas, and Energy Law; Rumpus; Salon; and Yale Journal of International Law. New poetry, a book review, and short fiction are forthcoming from Inscape, Kenyon Review, and Rappahannock Review. Carrie has completed the Iowa Writers’ Workshop Summer Session and was a Susannah McCorkle Scholar at the 2016 Sewanee Writers’ Conference.

In 2017, La Seur published two short stories in anthologies. The first, “Bad Blood”, tells of unsettled business between white and Northern Cheyenne Montanans in a collection titled Montana Noir. The second, “Colt the Bull-Riding Hasid”, is the story of an Orthodox Jew from Brooklyn who was born to be a cowboy, published in Sandstone, a collection of local writing in support of This House of Books, the Billings (MT) Bookstore Cooperative. On January 16, 2018, William Morrow released La Seur’s second novel The Weight of An Infinite Sky, a family drama set in southern Montana and loosely based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Carrie’s résumé includes a degree in English and French magna cum laude from Bryn Mawr College, a Rhodes Scholarship, a doctorate in modern languages from Oxford University, and a Yale law degree. She has always been a writer. “The writing comes easily,” she says. “It’s what I’m always doing in the background, whatever else is going on. It’s my resting pulse rate to be scribbling what’s happening in my head. If I didn’t, I’d be wandering the streets talking to myself. Sometimes I do that anyway.”

In 2006, Carrie founded the legal nonprofit Plains Justice, which provides public interest energy and environmental legal services in the northern plains states and played a key role in halting several new coal plants, enacting clean energy reforms, and launching the Keystone XL pipeline campaign. “I’m still involved in Plains Justice, but I went back to private practice in 2012. Running a nonprofit takes a unique blend of selflessness and enough raging narcissism to think you really can change the world. The burnout rate is similar to that of telemarketers.” Carrie is also the founding Board President of This House of Books.

Carrie maintains a part-time energy and environmental law practice in Montana, where her ancestors settled in 1864 and she hikes, skis, and fishes with her family.

Nonfiction publications:

▪ “Warm Milk,” Rappahannock Review, Issue 6.1 (December 2018), with an author interview.
▪ “A Working Class Death,” True – Proximity Magazine (October 2018)
▪ “How to keep independent bookstores alive,” High Country News (December 2016)
▪ “Live Tweeting Hospital Price-Gouging,” Huffington Post (December 2016)
▪ “Hiring Anybody With Arms: a documentary glimpse into the Dakota oil boom,” Huffington Post (September 2016)
▪ “Deep in the American West: meet Harry Koyama, a beet farmer with an artist’s soul,” The Guardian (June 2016)
▪ “On The Discreet Hero by Mario Vargas Llosa,” Kenyon Review Online (Spring 2016)
▪ “Little Miracles Everywhere, Or How Billings, Montana Got Its Bookstore Mojo Back,” Huffington Post (April 2016)
▪ “A Montana Goodbye for Ivan Doig,” Huffington Post (August 2015)
▪ “The Coal Royalty Loophole That’s Costing the US Hundreds of Millions,” Huffington Post (August 2015)
▪ “Oversights and Omissions in Federal Review of Another Rail Spur for Montana Coal,” Huffington Post (June 2015)
▪ “Why Vetoing Keystone XL Isn’t Nearly Enough,” Huffington Post (February 2015)
▪ “Book Bag: Gritty Stories from the Real Montana,” Daily Beast (October 2014)
▪ “Is My Vagina the Most Important Thing About My Writing?” Huffington Post (October 2014)
▪ “So You Want to Be a (Successful) Writer?” Huffington Post (April 2014)
▪ “A Working Mom … Like My Grandmothers,” Huffington Post (February 2013)
▪ “Forty Years after NEPA’s Enactment, It Is Time for a Comprehensive Farm Bill Environmental Impact Statement,” Harvard Law and Policy Review (May 2013)
▪ “Needed: A 50-State Strategy on Climate,” Mother Jones (September 2010)
▪ “How Merchant Coal Is Changing the Face of America,” Grist (August 2006)
▪ “The Foreigner As Fetish,” Salon (July 1999)
▪ “Can I Trust You?” Salon (June 1999)
▪ “The Long Rhodes Home,” Salon (May 1999)

Author photo by Dewey Vanderhoff taken at Trail Town, Cody, WY



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