Ben H. Winters

Benjamin Allen H. "Ben" Winters is an American author.[1]

Ben H. Winters
BornJune 14, 1976
Maryland, U.S.

Early life and education

Winters was born in Maryland. In high school, he played in the punk band Corm,[2] alongside John Davis, now of Title Tracks. In 1998, he graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where he was active in the comedy group Mama's Pot Roast.[3]


Winters was first known as the author of the 2009 New York Times bestseller Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. In June 2010, Android Karenina was published by Quirk Books. A young adult novel, The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman, was published by HarperCollins in September 2010. Finkleman was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America in January 2011. In 2011, Winters published a second book in the Ms. Finkleman series, titled The Mystery of the Missing Everything, and Bedbugs, a horror novel for adults. Winters has also written numerous books in the Worst-Case Scenario Series.

In 2012, Winters published The Last Policeman, the first in a trilogy of detective novels set in a pre-apocalyptic United States; that book won the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America in the category Best Paperback Original;[4] was an Amazon Best Book of 2012;[5] and was nominated for the Macavity Award for Best Mystery by Mystery Readers International.[6] The second novel in the Last Policeman trilogy, Countdown City, was published in July 2013; it won the 2014 Philip K. Dick Award for Distinguished Science Fiction.[7] The third book in the Policeman series, World of Trouble, was published in July 2014. It was nominated for the Edgar Award in the category of Best Paperback Original [4] and for the Anthony Award.[8]

Winters's work for the theater includes the Off-Broadway musical Slut, the children's musicals The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, Uncle Pirate, and A (Tooth) Fairy Tale and the Neil Sedaka juke-box musical, Breaking Up Is Hard to Do.

Winters's novel Underground Airlines was published by Mulholland Books in July 2016. It is an alternate history book, set in a present-day alternate universe in which the American Civil War never occurred, with human chattel slavery continuing to be practiced legally in four U.S. states as a result. In the book, the main character, a former slave and bounty hunter working for the U.S. government, attempts to infiltrate an abolitionist organization known as the "Underground Airlines" (a reference to the historical Underground Railroad).[9][10] The book was an Indie Next pick for July 2016 and a New York Times bestseller.[11][12] The book won the 2016 Sidewise Award for Alternate History.

His most recent novel is Golden State, published by Mulholland Books in January 2019. The novel imagines an alternate history version of Southern California in which objective reality is fetishized and protected above all things, and lying is the greatest crime imaginable. Winters has said the book was inspired by the rise of alternative facts and in particular by the argument about the crowd size at the 2017 presidential inauguration.[13]. Golden State was an Indie Next pick for January 2019 [14] and a Book of the Month Club selection [15]. Writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, Michael Berry called the novel "smart, intricate and propulsive" and "proof that Winters deserves our continued attention as one of crime fiction’s most inventive practitioners."[16]

Personal life

Winters lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children.[17]





  • Slut[18] (Off Broadway, 2005)
  • Breaking Up is Hard to Do[19] (premiere Capitol Rep, Albany, 2005; licensed by Theatrical Rights Worldwide)
  • The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere [20] (TheatreWorks USA, 2006); licensed by Samuel French
  • A (Tooth) Fairy Tale[21] (premiered by Vital Theater, 2009); licensed by Samuel French
  • Uncle Pirate[22] (premiered by Vital Theater, 2010); licensed by Samuel French


  • 2008 Dramatists Guild Fellowship
  • 2010 Edgar Award Nomination (The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman)
  • 2011 Bank Street Best Children's Book (The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman)
  • 2012 Edgar Award Winner (The Last Policeman)
  • 2012 Macavity Award Nominee (The Last Policeman)
  • 2013 Philip K. Dick Award Winner (Countdown City)
  • 2014 Edgar Award Nominee (World of Trouble)
  • 2015 Anthony Award Nominee (World of Trouble)
  • 2017 Chautauqua Prize finalist (Underground Airlines)
  • 2017 International Thriller Award nominee (Best Novel) (Underground Airlines)

See also


  1. "About the Author". HarperCollins Publishers. Retrieved 24 August 2010.
  2. "Interview (& Giveaway): Ben H. Winters, author of The Last Policeman". My Bookish Ways. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  3. Alexander, Jennifer. "Ben H. Winters Pens Highly Imaginative "Countdown City"". West End Word. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  4. "Edgar Winners & Nominees". Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  5. " Back to School: Books". Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  6. "This page has moved". Retrieved Nov 19, 2019.
  7. John DeNardo (April 19, 2014). "WINNER: 2014 Philip K. Dick Award". SF Signal. Retrieved April 21, 2014.
  8. "Bouchercon World Mystery Convention : Anthony Award Nominees and Winners". Archived from the original on February 7, 2012. Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  9. "Book Deals: Week of September 15, 2014". Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  10. "Underground Airlines – Ben H. Winters". Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  11. "July 2016 Indie Next List #1 Great Read". Indie Next. Archived from the original on 4 January 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  12. "Underground Airlines a NYT bestseller". Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  13. "Lies Are Illegal In The 'Golden State' Of Ben Winters". Retrieved Nov 19, 2019.
  14. "The January 2019 Indie Next List Preview". the American Booksellers Association. Dec 4, 2018. Retrieved Nov 19, 2019.
  15. Judge, Liberty HardyBOTM. "Golden State by Ben H. Winters | Book of the Month". Retrieved Nov 19, 2019.
  16. "Beyond 1984: A review of 'Golden State,' by Ben H. Winters". Retrieved Nov 19, 2019.
  17. Alter, Alexandra (July 4, 2016). "In His New Novel, Ben Winters Dares to Mix Slavery and Sci-Fi". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  18. "'Slut,' a new musical written by Ben H. Winters and Stephen Sislen, at the American Theatre of Actors on the 13 Sep - 13 Nov 2005". Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  19. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-09-25. Retrieved 2015-09-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. "Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, The | Samuel French". Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  21. "(Tooth) Fairy Tale, A | Samuel French". Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  22. "Uncle Pirate | Samuel French". Retrieved July 5, 2016.
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