About Kent Nelson

Kent Nelson

Kent Nelson has lived in Ouray County, Colorado since 1974.  He has done some unusual and interesting jobs over the years, including dishwasher, ad salesman, writer for a tow truck magazine and city judge.

Mountain Hiker and Runner

Kent has hiked all over the San Juan Mountains. He also has run the Imogene Pass Race three times and the Pikes Peak Marathon twice.


Kent’s published work includes four novels, six collections of short fiction, and 145 stories in magazines. His novels have won the Edward Abbey Prize for Ecofiction, the Colorado Book Award, and the Mountain and Plains Booksellers Award for best novel, and in 2014 his story collection, The Spirit Bird, won the Drue Heinz Literature Prize. In addition to being the writer of the rescue stories in this book, he is the subject of one of them.

Kent has held many distinguished professorships in fiction writing, including ones at the state universities of Alabama, Texas, Montana, Wyoming, Tennessee and Ohio. He has also taught at Colorado College and Rice, and at several summer writing conferences.

The Spirit Bird by Kent Nelson


Kent has identified 766 species of birds in North America. He and his long-time partner, Judy Scheig, have also birded in Costa Rica, Ecuador, New Zealand, and Australia, and Kent, with the aid of gifts from his children, has traveled to Bhutan and to Attu Island, the last island in the Aleutian chain, in search of birds.