Close up of Nevada Writers Hall of Fame medal

H. Lee Barnes

2009 Nevada Writers Hall of Fame Inductee


H. Lee Barnes was born in Moscow, Idaho, and grew up in the West. After serving in the Vietnam War as a Green Beret (U.S. Army Special Forces), he worked as a deputy sheriff in Clark County from 1966-1972, a narcotics agent for the Nevada Division of Narcotics in Reno from 1973-1976, a private investigator, a construction laborer, and a casino employee from 1977-1989. He graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1989 as the Outstanding Senior in the College of Arts and Letters, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. He later earned his Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Arizona State University. Barnes has served as assistant editor fiction editor, and contributing editor for the Red Rock Review. He currently lives in Las Vegas where he teaches English and creative writing at the College of Southern Nevada. As a hiker, photographer and motorcycle enthusiast, he enjoys touring the highways of the southwest and the lure of inviting back roads.

Barnes' fiction focuses largely on working-class characters of the west and southwest, many of whom are war veterans. His narratives often deal with external events that subsume his characters as they try to deal with their sense of disaffection and negotiate a path through contemporary life. He has published five books and over 40 short stories and essays. He contributed the first chapter for Restless City, the 2009 collaborative serial novel project sponsored by the Vegas Valley Book Festival.

Barnes' short fiction has been awarded the Williamette Fiction Award, the Arizona Authors Association Fiction Award, and the Clackamas Literary Review Fiction Award. Gunning for Ho, his first book, was a finalist for the Texas Institute of letters First Fiction Award. His Las Vegas novel, The Lucky, was a finalist for the Western Writers of America Fiction Award. Published by the University of Nevada Press, it was one of the Association of American University Preses’ Show Winners for Book Jacket and Cover. In 2006, his short story, "The Run," was adapted into a short film by screenplay writer and director Gene Zaromski. Barnes played the role of Driver for the film. He won the 2008 War Poetry Contest, sponsored by Winning Writers, for two poems: "Firefight" and "Sticking Points."