McGuane says he was looking for work that wouldn't keep him inside when he became a writer. What he eventually found is that
he can balance his life, whether writing in a glass room, fishing, hunting, riding a horse, herding cattle or enjoying his family.

Tom McGuane: Novelist, Essayist, Screenwriter

One of the unique things about writing for a living is that the
minute you finish a project you're out of work again.  
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McLeod, Montana

Run Time:



Fiction, nonfiction, screen



Michigan and Massachusetts

Youthful Influence:

The interesting Irish immigrant family who all seemed to be story-tellers. Parents who were avid readers and surrounded the family with books: Kon Tiki, Horatio Hornblower, Arcturus Adventure and more.

Favorite Authors:

Sherwood Anderson, Faulkner, Steinbeck, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Turgenev, Evelyn Waugh, Cervantes, Flaubert . . . he's a self-confessed 'promiscuous reader'

Creative Habit:

At one point he wrote daily 8 to 5, and then realized he was "just squandering a part of (his) life" and he created a more balanced schedule. He loves writing on computer. He prints the work out, makes his own edits and then works with his long-time editor, Deborah Treisman.

A peek in a barn window. . .

But then there is his other life, the outdoor life he succeeded at creating as a genuine Montana cowboy and rancher. His credentials include being inducted into the National Cutting Horse Hall of Fame, the Fly-fishing Hall of Fame, and the Fly Rod and Reel Angler of the Year 2010.

We were pleased when he agreed to an interview. We drove several hours across gravel roads through the magnificent wilds of Montana, and finally arrived at his rustic ranch where we set up to talk with him in his writing studio. It was a room filled with books on every topic, as well as the tools of a cowboy, fisherman, bird hunter. It was a space that balanced the rich interior life of a man of letters with the rich exterior life of a man of action. And it was a place that proved McGuane’s writer’s mind had pulled it off. He had succeeded at making writing a road to adventure and the outdoors.

There’s little doubt that a writer’s mind can be a strange organ, capable of juggling opposites and crafting realities from seemingly impossible connections.

Case in point: Somehow, Tom McGuane fell in love with the great outdoors, and then convinced himself that the way to living an exciting outdoor adventurous life was to become a writer. A writer! That loneliest of professions that forces one to live long periods in dark caves with nothing but clay tablets, a pencil, or a word processor.

Yet McGuane managed to live in both worlds. As a man of letters, he studied the craft of writing and literature at Michigan State University, Harvard and Yale and went on to become a successful novelist, screenwriter, essayist, short story and article writer, as well as a Wallace Stegner Fellow and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

A favorite drawing by Montana Assiniboine Indian artist William Standing

McGuane is a rancher – an award winning breeder and trainer of cutting horses – and a writer.

For fishing and fly-tying . . .

There's a story here.

He's a fisherman-writer too.

and more adventure gear.

As we say in the West he loves so much, he's a 'long drink of water.'

. . . or two.


Driving on the Rim - (2010)
Gallatin Canyon - Stories - (2006)
Upstream: Fly Fishing in the American West (w/Charles Lindsey) - 2005
The Cadence of Grass - (2002)
The Longest Silence: A Life in Fishing, Essays - (2000)
Some Horses, Essays - (1999)
Nothing but Blue Skies
- (1992)
Keep the Change
- (1989)
To Skin a Cat - (1986)
Something to be Desired - (1984)
Nobody's Angel - (1981)
Panama - (1978)
Ninety-Two in the Shade - (1973)
The Bushwacked Piano - (1971)
The Sporting Club - (1969)


Cold Feet - (1989)
Tom Horn
(w/ Bud Shrake) - (1980)
Missouri Breaks - (1976)
Ninety Two in the Shade (also directed) - (1975)
Rancho Deluxe - (1975)

McGuane has also written a number of TV movies and shorts, most recently Pirates of the Flats: Belize and Bahamas. He has also appeared in a number of documentaries on the American West, fishing and in the Buccaneers and Bones TV Series. His writing has appeared in Best American Stories, Best American Essays, Best American Sporting Essays, The New Yorker, McSweeneys, Men's Journal, Sports Illustrated and more.

Emeritus Award, High Plains Book Awards - 2012
Fly Fishing Hall of Fame, Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum 2012
Western Literature Association, Distinguished Achievement - 2011
American Academy of Arts and Letters - 2010
Fly Rod and Reel Angler of the Year - 2010
Wallace Stegner Award from Center for the American West - 2009
National Cutting Horse Hall of Fame - 2006
Montana Governors Award for the Arts - 1989
Nominated for National Book Award (Ninety-Two in the Shade) - 1973
Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Award in Fiction from American Academy (for The Bushwacked Piano) - 1972
Stegner Fellowship - 1966
Trout Unlimited Land Conservation Award
Americans Rivers Award for River Conservation