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Choke Creek tells the story of a girl who falls in love with a soldier who deserts from Vietnam.  In her quest to save him, she uncovers the secrets that have haunted both their families for generations, dating back to the Indian Wars.

The novel is based on an historical event, the Sand Creek Massacre, which took place in Colorado, where I grew up.  On a cold November morning in 1864, over 150 Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians, mostly women and children, were killed by a mixed band of federal and volunteer troops.  Afterwards the bodies of the dead were scalped and mutilated in the most gruesome and shocking ways. 

Growing up in Denver, I never heard a word about Sand Creek.  If I had, I probably would have been told it was a justifiable battle.  That’s the way it’s listed on the war monument outside the State Capitol building downtown.  I didn’t find out the truth until I became an adult, and a writer, interested in learning more about the place I came from.  When I first read about Sand Creek, I was horrified.  But I was also outraged at how the truth had become so distorted and forgotten in the historical record. 

I decided to write about Sand Creek . . .read more



Learn more about Choke Creek.
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What's New

The Distance to Suffering

 Read Lauren Small's essay "The Distance to Suffering" on American Public Radio's On Being

Forthcoming in 2016 from Bridle Path Press

Fourteen-year-old Anna Glanz has stopped speaking, and it’s up to Dr. Gus Thaler of the Phipps Psychiatric Clinic to find out why. Thaler’s search to cure Anna takes him deep into the past, to a mystical disciple of the Baal Shem Tov who once exorcised a spirit from Anna’s grandmother. But ultimately as Anna lies dying, her daughter uncovers the secret that even now Anna cannot bring herself to tell.

Written by the Pushcart Prize-nominated author of Choke Creek, Wolf Constellation delivers a gripping tale of guilt and forgiveness. Like the wolf that haunts Anna’s dreams, the novel is wild, fantastical, and darkly magnificent. Through an epic story that crosses generations, Lauren Small brilliantly captures the forces that make us who we are—and are so difficult to escape.


 Join Lauren Small; Dr. Henrietta Mann, president of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College of Oklahoma;  Alden Whiteman; Bryan Strom; and Mike Schrage for a clilnic on "History, Memory, Legacy: The Sand Creek Massacre at 150" at the annual conference of the National Council for the Social Studies, on Thursday November 21 in St. Louis.

The 90 Year Divide

 Nearly a century ago, rival approaches to psychiatry fractured the profession.  The Grand Argument is far from over.  A new article by Lavinia Edmunds and Lauren Small in Johns Hopkins Magazine. 

A Novel Approach to History

 Teachers--with Choke Creek you can:

     -----Change the way your students think about history.
     -----Show them why social justice matters.
     -----Engage them in primary sources.
     -----Bring Native American history alive.
                 click here to learn more

High Schools Reading Choke Creek

 Join the growing number of high schools reading Choke Creek for U. S. History, English, and Colorado History.  For more information, click here.

Creative Writing Classes

Dr. Lauren Small, adjunct associate professor of Creative Writing at the University of Maryland University College, offers creative writing classes in short story, memoir, novel, and essay.  See the UMUC catalogue for the college's latest schedules and offerings.

Screw Iowa! in the News

 Five writers found Iowa workshop to be a total bust--so they started their own network.  Read more. . .

Now available from Bridle Path Press

Writing in a Changing World, by Mariana Damon, Marnette Graff, Nina Romano, Melissa Westemeier, and Lauren Small.  For more information click here.



A proud supporter of the American Indian College Fund


Lauren Small: lcsmall@comcast.net

Member Facing History and Ourselves

Member National Council of Teachers of English

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