John Nichols (writer)

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John Nichols
BornJohn Treadwell Nichols
(1940-07-23) July 23, 1940 (age 78)
Berkeley, California, United States
Alma materHamilton College

John Treadwell Nichols (born July 23, 1940, Berkeley, California) is an American novelist.


Nichols is the author of the "New Mexico trilogy", a series about the complex relationship among history, race and ethnicity, and land and water rights in the fictional town of Chamisaville, New Mexico.[1] The trilogy consists of The Milagro Beanfield War (which was adapted into a movie of the same title directed by Robert Redford), The Magic Journey, and The Nirvana Blues.

Two of his other novels have been made into films. The Wizard of Loneliness was published in 1966, and the film version with Lukas Haas was made in 1988. Another movie adaptation was of The Sterile Cuckoo, published in 1965 and then adapted for a film by Alan J. Pakula in 1969.[2] He also had a hand, uncredited due to a decision in an arbitration with the Writers Guild, in the Oscar-winning Best Adapted Screenplay for Costa-Gavras' 1982 film Missing.[citation needed]

Nichols also has written non-fiction, including the trilogy If Mountains Die, The Last Beautiful Days of Autumn and On the Mesa. Nichols has lived in Taos, New Mexico for many years. He is the subject of a documentary The Milagro Man: The Irrepressible Multicultural Life and Literary Times of John Nichols, which premiered at the 2012 Albuquerque Film Festival.[3]

Nichols also is a photographer. Many of his photographs appear in his book On the Mesa, among others. He also participated as an instructor in fine art photographic workshops, most notably with the Los Angeles photographer Ray McSavaney.

He is the grandson of ichthyologist John Treadwell Nichols and a first cousin of Massachusetts politician William Weld.[4]

Nichols graduated from Hamilton College in 1962.


  • The Sterile Cuckoo. David McKay Company, Inc. 1965.
  • The Wizard of Loneliness. Putnams. 1966.
  • New Mexico Trilogy
  • A Ghost in the Music. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston. 1979.
  • American Blood. Henry Holt & Co. 1987.
  • An Elegy for September. Henry Holt & Co. 1992.
  • Conjugal Bliss: A Comedy of Martial Arts. Henry Holt & Co. 1994.
  • The Voice of the Butterfly. Chronicle Books. 2001.
  • The Empanada Brotherhood. Chronicle Books. 2007.
  • On Top Of Spoon Mountain. University of New Mexico Press. 2012.
  • The Annual Big Arsenic Fishing Contest!. University of New Mexico Press. 2016.
  • Non-fiction trilogy
    • If Mountains Die: A New Mexico Memoir. With William Davis (photographer). Knopf. 1979.
    • The Last Beautiful Days of Autumn. Henry Holt & Co. 1982.
    • On the Mesa. Gibbs Smith. 1986.
  • A Fragile Beauty: John Nichols' Milagro Country. Gibbs Smith. 1987.
  • Keep It Simple: A Defense of the Earth. Norton. 1992.
  • Dancing on the Stones:Selected Essays. University of New Mexico Press. 2000.
  • An American Child Supreme: The Education of a Liberation Ecologist. Credo Series. Milkweed Editions. 2001.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tessier, D (November 3, 2008). "John Nichols, unconventional socialist". New Mexico Independent. Retrieved October 8, 2012.
  2. ^ Canby, Vincent (October 23, 1969). "The Sterile Cuckoo (1969) Screen: 'The Sterile Cuckoo,' Old-Style TV Drama". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "The Absolutely Irrepressible Multicultural Life and Literary Times of John Nichols". Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  4. ^ Nichols, John. "Biography - John Nichols". John Nichols. Retrieved March 11, 2015.

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