Max McCoy 

Journalist. Author. Storyteller.      

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Max McCoy 

Max is an award-winning author and journalist. His novels include movie tie-ins, westerns, thrillers and mysteries.             

He's the executive director of the Western Writers of America.   For 17 years taught as a professor of journalism at Emporia State University, where he specialized in investigative reporting, nonfiction narrative, and Free Speech issues. 

Max's novels  include four original Indiana Jones adventures for Bantam / Lucasfilm. He wrote the novelization to the Steven Spielberg epic TNT miniseries, Into the West. He's won three Spur awards for his fiction from the Western Writers of America.

He's president and board member of the Ozark Creative Writers annual conference at Eureka Springs, Arkansas. (Photo: Kim Horner)    


Max's latest novel is American Odyssey, published in 2022 by Kensington Books, New York.

National Society of Newspaper Columnists:

First Place - Online Humor

Second Place - Online General

Third Place - Crisis Commentary

Kansas Press Association:

Second Place - Column Writing 

Max won awards in 2021, 2022, and 2023 for opinion columns he wrote as a regular contributor to the Kansas Reflector. His columns have also appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Kansas City Star, the Kansas City Pitch, and the Asahi Shimbun, Tokyo.  


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Elevations: A Personal Exploration of the Arkansas River.  

Elevations is a 2019 Kansas Notable Book and the winner of the 2018 National Outdoor Book Award for history/biography. It was also named Best Cultural West Title of 2018 by True West magazine.     

"Elevations is a Blue Highways kind of book about a swipe of America from Colorado to Oklahoma, down the fabled Arkansas River that in its lower length now flows salt and sand. A riverine biography, it hits all the notes—from past massacres like Ludlow to barely missed modern ones in Garden City, from declining groundwater to ascendant marijuana. The stories are perceptive picks, but best of all is the author’s voice: unsurprised and unflinchingly honest." — Dan Flores, author of the award-winning books Coyote America and American Serengeti.

  "McCoy floats through a valley haunted by gold—not only in mines along the continental divide, but in corporate wheat farms that bleed the Ogallala aquifer and in the fantasies of Coronado—a valley where marijuana is legal but canoeing public waters is not, where the same values that desecrated the river also desecrated its people at Sand Creek and Ludlow, at a Japanese American internment camp, and at immigrant communities in southwest Kansas. In his meticulous search for the story of the Arkansas, McCoy unearths a deeper story of his own personal battles and of America at the dawn of Trump." —George Frazier, author of The Last Wild Places of Kansas.


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