Winner of the 2014 Minnesota Book Award in Memoir and Creative Non-Fiction

“Hoffert’s writing style and abilities alone are a reason for recommending this book, regardless of a reader’s particular genre interests. She is a master of description, utilizing the least number of words while evoking maximum effect.”
— Lambda Literary Review

Praise for Prairie Silence

“The quiet, lyric prose of Melanie Hoffert’s Prairie Silence crept into my days, making it impossible for me to stop turning pages. This book is about looking for oneself in places we are so often afraid to venture. A beautiful debut from a brave new writer.”

— Claire Bidwell Smith, author of The Rules of Inheritance
“In Prairie Silence, Melanie Hoffert shows how the landscapes of our childhood continue to speak to us, and through us, long after we’ve left them behind. In this beautifully written and deeply imagined memoir, Hoffert invites us back to her North Dakota farming community for a season of harvest, a personal journey of profound courage and grace.”

— Judy Blunt, author of Breaking Clean
“Melanie Hoffert has written a gutsy, complicated book about the little town we both came from (but which she experienced in a much, much different way).

— Chuck Klosterman, author of Downtown Owl and The Visible Man
“How is it possible that this reader, committed to city life and wary of the prairie, can experience a pang of longing for empty gravel roads, dying towns, and the intense human connection that resides within the silences of rural North Dakota? It’s a testament to the honest and compelling love story that is Melanie Hoffert’s Prairie Silence. Hoffert’s intimate memoir of place reveals a personal journey both fraught and wondrous, and a present reality of surprising richness. For all the rural ex-patriots who have watched their home places disappear, as well as for city dwellers like me, this book opens the closed world of the prairie, and speaks an enlivening truth.”

— Patricia Weaver Francisco, author of Telling: A Memoir of Rape and Recovery
Melanie Hoffert’s Prairie Silence is about leaving the lands that make us and returning to landscapes that pull us into our truest exploration of self. Read this book if you have ever grappled with faith, sexuality and leaving home; love this book for its beauty, its timeliness, and its devotion to the places that have made us all.

— Barrie Jean Borich, author of Body Geographic and My Lesbian Husband
“It’s a wistful read, full of generosity and love and true admiration for the people back home. But that doesn’t make sharing it easy.”
“What would you do if you hailed from a place where you being gay was the farthest thing from your neighbors’ minds? In “Prairie Silence,” author Melanie Hoffert tackles that, coming from her home state of North Dakota. This is a beautiful book, almost bucolic, and filled with a quiet sense of calm and crops.”
— The Washington Blade
“The author’s mostly quiet narrative includes a wealth of haunting images and ideas that will linger long after the last sentence. A heartfelt love song to a place and its people as well as an honest and rewarding rendering of the author’s interior landscape.”
— Kirkus Review
“In this affecting memoir, Hoffert proves that while you can indeed go home again, it will, of course, never be quite the same. A heartfelt coming-out story as well as an eloquent elegy to a rural way of life that is rapidly vanishing from the American landscape.”

— Margaret Flanagan, Booklist
“Hoffert’s bittersweet and compelling memoir recalls her struggles at ending her silence and creating a fuller life for herself. She illuminates the quiet grace of the people and land she loves and mourns the passing of a way of life.”
— Minneapolis Star Tribune

Other Publications


  • The Making of a Rich Man in Orion; Winter, 2015 and The UTNE Reader; Winter, 2105
  • Burying Fish in Ascent, 2013
  • The Reason Nice Wyoming Knights of Columbus Members Terrify Me, The Huffington Post, 2013
  • Three Things to Expect While Publishing Your Debut in Signature, 2013
  • How I Broke My Chuck Klosterman Curse in Publishers Weekly, 2013
  • Prairie Silence: A Memoir (Beacon Press, 2013)
  • Witness anthologized in Women Finding and Leaving Extreme Religion (Seal Press, 2013)
  • The Allure of Grain Trucks in Muse & Stone, 2009 and New Millennium Writings, 2010
  • Silent Prairie Beginnings – Winter/Spring 2006 issue of the Baltimore Review
  • Prairie Beginnings in Mochila Review, 2009


  • 2014 Minnesota Book Award in Memoir and Creative Non-Fiction
  • 2010 Creative Non-Fiction Award, New Millennium Writings
  • 2006 Creative Non-Fiction Award, The Baltimore Review
  • Twice Finalist for the Loft Literary Center Mentor Series
  • Outstanding Creative Non-Fiction Thesis, Hamline University