Ernest Brawley

Ernest Brawley was raised on the grounds of prisons all over the state of California. He worked his way through college as a guard at San Quentin Prison. Eventually he received an MA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. After a stint in the US Army, he spent several years hitchhiking around the world. Finally, he settled in Paris, where he lived the cliché of “the penniless artist.”

Yet it was in Paris that he wrote the first of his eight novels, The Rap (1974, republished in 2015). Based upon his experiences as a guard at San Quentin, it was made into a movie called Fastwalking, starring James Woods. The movie brought him literally from rags to riches, which he squandered by living the European high life for a few years.

When forced by necessity to work again, he wrote Selena (1979, republished in 2015), about a fiery Latina farmworker and union organizer. It was purchased by 20th Century Fox.

The Alamo Tree (1984) is the epic tale of two families in two countries: Mexico and the United States. Spanning six decades of the violent and tumultuous 20th Century, it was a featured selection at Literary Guild.

Brawley spent the next thirty years teaching English and Creative Writing at Hunter College and New York University and serving as a literary judge for the National Endowment for the Arts, with not much time for writing.

Love Has No Country (2021) was his first novel in years. Set during the Vietnam War, it tells the tale of a mad love affair between a CIA agent and a beautiful Laotian doctor who turns out to be a Communist spy.

Streetlight (also published in 2021), is set in New York in the 1970’s, when crime ruled the streets It tells the story of a female reporter who exposes the shocking secrets of the revered boss of a famous drug rehab center.

Desert Places (2022) tells the story of a remarkable young girl named Ruby Rose. Every night in her dreams, Ruby flees her inattentive father, her alcoholic mother, her drug-addicted brother, and her home on the grounds of a prison in the Mojave Desert, and flies over the mountains to Hollywood, where – in time – she almost makes it.

Jihadi Joe (also published in 2022) is about a CIA agent who infiltrates ISIS to take down an infamous British-born terrorist leader, prevent a dirty bomb attack, and save the woman he loves from slavery.

Blood Moon (2023) is a Western novel, set in the 19th Century Arizona Territory. It is based on true historical events. Raped and left for dead by a phony preacher, a young Mexican shepherdess survives by a miracle, and her relentless pursuit of justice ignites the bloodiest land war in the history of the West.

At present Brawley is working on a memoir of his life traveling around the world.

For more information, visit his website at
His email address is


The Rap (1974, 2015)

Selena (1979, 2015)

The Alamo Tree (1984)

Love Has No Country (2021)

Streetlight (2021)

Desert Places (2022)

Jihadi Joe (2022)

Blood Moon (2023)

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