Drawing on his Nebraskan upbringing with its wide-open plains and his Catholic education, Omaha native Ron Hansen has written fifteen works of western and religious fiction, as well as books of essays and short stories.
After attending Creighton Prep and Creighton University, Hansen served in the Army. He then attended the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop where he learned from prolific author John Irving. He is also an ordained deacon in the Catholic Church. His love of the Wild West and his faith are hallmarks of his novels, which often either focus on Old West outlaws or issues of faith, both in fiction and nonfiction essays.
His most popular novel, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, was adapted into a film starring Brad Pitt as Jesse James and Casey Affleck as his killer. Based on the true criminal, his gang, and death, Hansen focuses on the Ford family and their overlooked role in the history of the Wild West. This novel is one of three fictionalized tellings of Western outlaws. The others are Desperadoes, which tells the story of the Dalton gang, and his most recent, The Kid, about Billy the Kid. Another of Hansen’s novels, Mariette in Ecstasy, was made into a film, but never released. This novel concerns a Catholic nun in upstate New York who undergoes the miracle of stigmatization.
Hansen has received numerous awards and fellowships for his writing, and currently teaches at Santa Clara University where he is the Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., Professor in the Arts and Humanities. His influences include Edgar Allen Poe and John Updike.
Several of Hansen’s works are available at Bellevue University Library, located in the general collection. All books can be borrowed for 21 days with the option of renewal.