Buddha Was a Cowboy
By Junior Burke

A progressive, alternative university is targeted for takeover by conservative forces in this satiric tale.

Buddha Was a Cowboy
By Junior Burke

“Burke’s . . . portrayal of academic arts administration is both good-natured and razor-sharp. Enthusiastically recommended.”—Booklist

Praise for The Cold Last Swim:

“Burke’s narrative is a whirlwind escape.”—PopMatters

“Set in an alternate-timeline version of golden-age Hollywood, it kicks off with James Dean shooting Ronald Reagan during a live TV broadcast in 1954 and gets stranger from there.”—Chicago Reader

“Entertaining and surprising all the way to the end.”— Alex Cox, director-writer of Repo Man and Sid & Nancy, and author of The President and the Provocateur: The Parallel Lives of JFK and Lee Harvey Oswald

“Smartly noirish rhythms and a cast of colorful, quirky characters.”— Lorraine Devon Wilke, author of The Alchemy of Noise and After the Sucker Punch

“A joy from beginning to end.”—June Skinner Sawyers, co-editor, Long Walk Home: Reflections on Bruce Springsteen


Aaron Motherway is a Hollywood screenwriter who, while recovering from a traffic accident, is tapped to run the arts program at Parami University, located in Pearl Handle, Wyoming.

What Aaron doesn’t know is that he is being set up to fail by various duplicitous forces, and he finds himself immersed in a culture war infused with sexual misconduct, embezzlement, political opportunism, and potential mass murder, played out in a climate of comedic dysfunction and absurdity.

His charming and able assistant has his back, fending off a demented poet and venomous colleagues. And he gains the loyalty of some very challenged students—a murderer, a lobster wrangler, and an apostate.

But there are surprises in store for Aaron before the story reaches a dramatic conclusion.

Buddha Was a Cowboy is a metaphor for many of the issues engulfing and dividing America today, and a darkly humorous take on the current cultural landscape.

Junior Burke‘s The Cold Last Swim (Gibson House Press, 2020) was one of five finalists for a Sidewise Award, the annual prize for novels of Alternate History. His short fiction was included in the anthologies Litscapes: Collected US Writings 2015 and Collectibles, published in 2021. He lives Out West.

Pub Date: September 13, 2022
Price: $16.95 US/$22.95 CAN
Binding: Original Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781948721189 (paper); 9781948721196 (ebook)
Category: Fiction/Literary; Fiction/Satire
Page Count: 236
Trim size: 5.5” x 8.5”
LCCN: 2022934040

Trade distributor: Publishers Group West (PGW)
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Publicity contact: Mary Bisbee-Beek, [email protected]

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