Stephen Harrigan's Profile Photo

Writer-at-large Stephen Harrigan is a longtime contributor to Texas Monthly whose work has also appeared in the Atlantic, National Geographic, the New York Times Book Review, and other national publications. He was a finalist for the 2015 National Magazine Awards in the commentary category for his writing at Texas Monthly. The following year, he won the Texas Institute of Letters’ Edwin “Bud” Shrake Award for his Texas Monthly story “Off Course.” He has also received the TIL’s Lon Tinkle Award for lifetime achievement, the Texas Medal of Arts Award, and the Texas Book Festival’s Texas Writer Award, and he is a member of the Texas Literary Hall of Fame.

Harrigan is the author of twelve books of fiction and nonfiction, including the award-winning novels The Gates of the Alamo and Remember Ben Clayton; Big Wonderful Thing, a history of Texas; and The Eye of the Mammoth, a career-spanning collection of his essays, many of which were written for Texas Monthly. Harrigan’s latest book is the novel The Leopard Is Loose. He is also a screenwriter who has written many movies for television. He lives in Austin.

153 Articles

February 26, 2021

Sculpting Through the Pandemic

I shape clay not to hone the skill but to escape a day job that’s all about honing. Like the philosopher Laozi, I find the value of my handiwork comes from what’s not there.

February 23, 2017

They Came From the Sky

In this exclusive excerpt from Stephen Harrigan’s forthcoming history of Texas, the first Spanish conquistadors arrive on our shores, starving, haggard, and in no mood for conquest.

Texas History|
June 16, 2016

Off Course

I never knew my father, a decorated World War II pilot who died before I was born. But a trek at age 67 to the site where his airplane crashed brought me closer to him than I’d ever dared hope.

The Culture|
December 11, 2014

Who’s That Guy?

Will Marco Perella’s portrayal of a loathsome jerk in Richard Linklater’s Boyhood turn out to be the biggest break of his long, low-profile career—or just another paying gig?

Film & TV|
October 13, 2014

Reel Life

Watch any footage from the Texas Archive of the Moving Image, and you’ll find yourself mesmerized by the unfreezing of time.

January 10, 2014

Dreaming in the Dark

Nearly everything about moviegoing has changed since I first fell in love with the big screen as a kid. But my ardor remains.

January 20, 2013

My Own Private Alamo

After 164 years, what more is there to say about (or see at) the old mission church in downtown San Antonio? That depends on how you look at it.

January 20, 2013


A visit to San Antonio’­s underground city, looking for kids with a can of paint and a nose for thrills.

January 20, 2013

We’ll Always Have Austin

In the late sixties, the Capital City was just as thrilling, drug-addled, pompous, and aimless as you’ve heard. Especially if you came from the provinces.

Texas History|
August 15, 2012

The Children of Texas

I was never certain how to explain the importance of the state to my three daughters. Now that I have two grandsons—named Mason and Travis, no less—I’ve realized something that I should have known all along. 

Food & Drink|
March 1, 2012

Where Is My Home?

A culinary obsession that began decades ago in my grandmother’s kitchen sent me on a quest through Central Texas (and way beyond) for kolaches—not the best ones but the ones that would lead me to myself.

April 30, 2011

The Peculiar Monument

In this exclusive excerpt from Remember Ben Clayton, a new novel by Stephen Harrigan, a sculptor meets a lonely rancher who has lost his son and needs something to remember him by.

March 31, 2011


For as long as I can remember, I've been fascinated by mammoths, those giant, prehistoric creatures that once roamed Texas. So I decided to go looking for them.

April 1, 2006


In this exclusive excerpt from Stephen Harrigan’s new novel, Challenger Park, a female astronaut confronts mommy-track issues on the way to outer space.

April 1, 2003

Heaven & Earth

The break-up of the space shuttle Columbia was a chilling reminder that the astronauts who dare to dream and risk their lives for the benefit of all mankind are, at the end of the day, mere mortals.

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