Laura Hillenbrand (born May 15, 1967) is an American author of books and magazine articles.
Born in Fairfax, Virginia, Hillenbrand spent much of her childhood riding bareback "screaming over the hills" of her father's Sharpsburg, Maryland, farm. A favorite of hers was Come On Seabiscuit, a 1963 kiddie book. "I read it to death, my little paperback copy," she says. She studied at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, but was forced to leave before graduation when she contracted Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which she has struggled with ever since. She now lives in Washington, D.C, and rarely leaves her house because of the condition. Hillenbrand married Borden Flanagan, a professor of Government at American University and her college sweetheart, in 2008.
Hillenbrand's first book was the acclaimed Seabiscuit: An American Legend (2001), a non-fiction account of the career of the great racehorse Seabiscuit, for which she won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year in 2001. She says she was compelled to tell the story because she "found fascinating people living a story that was improbable, breathtaking and ultimately more satisfying than any story [she'd] ever come across." She first told the story through an essay, "Four Good Legs Between Us," that she sold to American Heritage magazine, and the feedback was positive, so she decided to proceed with a full non-fiction book. Upon the book's release, she received rave reviews for her storytelling and research. It was made into the Academy Award nominated film Seabiscuit (2003).
Hillenbrand's second book was Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (2010), a biography of World War II hero Louis Zamperini.
Her essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Equus magazine, American Heritage, The Blood-Horse, Thoroughbred Times, The Backstretch, Turf and Sport Digest, and many other publications. Her 1998 American Heritage article on the horse Seabiscuit won the Eclipse Award for Magazine Writing.
Hillenbrand is a co-founder of Operation International Children.
Personal life 
Hillenbrand suffers from severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and remains largely confined to her home. On the irony of writing about physical paragons while being so incapacitated herself, she says, "I'm looking for a way out of here. I can't have it physically, so I'm going to have it intellectually. It was a beautiful thing to ride Seabiscuit in my imagination. And it's just fantastic to be there alongside Louie as he's breaking the NCAA mile record. People at these vigorous moments in their lives - it's my way of living vicariously."
- Kulman, Linda (March 19, 2001), "There's no holding this horse". U.S. News & World Report. 130 (11):62
- "Laura Hillenbrand releases new book while fighting chronic fatigue syndrome", by Monica Hesse, Washington Post, November 28, 2010
- Andriani, Lynn (January 1, 2001), "PW Talks with Laura Hillenbrand". Publishers Weekly. 248 (1):75
- N.A. (12/18/2003), "Beyond the top 50: Sports". USA Today
- Sanders, Erica (May 14, 2001), "Seabiscuit (Book Review)". People. 55 (19):54
- "The Defiant Ones", Wall Street Journal, November 12, 2010.
- Laura Hillenbrand at the Internet Movie Database
- Laura Hillenbrand at Seabiscuit.com
- "Unbroken" Official website
- In May 2011, the VOA Special English service of the Voice of America broadcast a 15-minute program on Laura Hillenbrand's new book "Unbroken." A transcript and MP3 of the program, intended for English learners, can be found at Laura Hillenbrand’s 'Unbroken' Is a Story of Survival and Heroism.
- Laura Hillenbrand at the Open Directory Project
|William Hill Sports Book of the Year winner