About the Author

Before Stephen Grace began writing, he backpacked throughout Africa and Asia, and he worked as a deckhand on Mississippi riverboats, a whitewater rafting guide, a neuropsychology research assistant, a skiing and snowboarding instructor, a youth counselor, a social worker, and a volunteer firefighter and ambulance driver. While caretaking a house in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where T.S. Eliot lived, he studied novel writing with Stratis Haviaras, founding editor of Harvard Review.

Stephen’s first novel, Under Cottonwoods, was a BookSense 76 selection and an Emerging Writers Network “Best of 2004″ book.

To write about the historical cartography of Colorado, Stephen worked with Library of Congress curators and with Vincent Virga, called “America’s foremost picture editor.” While researching China, Stephen sought out experiences ranging from teaching English in Henan to trail running in Tibet, and he explored and photographed Shanghai as it was transformed into a hypermodern metropolis for the 2010 World Expo. In order to write about the water crisis in the American West, he traversed the mountains and plains west of the 100th meridian and studied the strange language of western water.

Stephen is currently working on three books: a coming-of-age novel set in Missouri; an examination of the past, present and future of energy development in the American West; and an exploration of renegade philanthropy efforts in Africa.


Under Cottonwoods (Lyons Press, 2004)

“In his first novel, Grace writes with a lyrical power, celebrating the healing power of the human spirit set free in the wilds.” Los Angeles Times 

“I read Under Cottonwoods with my thirteen-year-old son and we both loved it–he for the fishing action, I for the novel’s flawed, searching, and wholly sympathetic characters. Stephen Grace has crafted a humane and hopeful story that will engage both nature lovers and champions of the human spirit.” —Wally Lamb, New York Times bestselling author of She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True 

It Happened in Denver (TwoDot, 2007)

“By the evidence of this excitement-packed narrative history, Denver has been simply bubbling with major events.” —Barnes&Noble


Colorado: Mapping the Centennial State through History: Rare and Unusual Maps from the Library of Congress (Globe Pequot Press, 2009)

“Well-written and organized, Colorado: Mapping the Centennial State through History is an excellent and unique addition to the vast library of works on Colorado history.” —Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library


Colorado Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Centennial State (Globe Pequot Press, 2009) 

Stephen Grace’s photography for this project supplied all of the images on this website.


Shanghai: Life, Love and Infrastructure in China’s City of the Future (Sentient Publications, 2010)

“Stephen Grace has a love affair with Shanghai, and he portrays it wonderfully. His Shanghai is a charming, thoroughly engaging portrait of a city in motion, full of hopeful people in a megacity that seeks to establish itself as a model of the future. Grace captures Shanghai’s spirit mainly through his on-the-street conversations and musings, bringing out (as would a sharp-eyed visitor to New York or Paris) the human side of this enormous and diverse city.” —Mel Gurtov, editor-in-chief, Asian Perspective



Be Sociable, Share!

One thought on “About the Author

  1. Stephen,
    The Gunnison valley has long been interested in Colorado water rights. Last year Justice Hobbs and George Sibley spoke at our library regarding Colorado water rights and its history. We would love if you would like to stop by our small community of Crested Butte, Colorado when your new book: Dam Nation comes out in May or June to share your thoughts.

    Debra Reich
    Branch Manager Old Rock Library Crested Butte, CO