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

“Author and songwriter Burke’s . . . portrayal of academic arts administration is both good-natured and razor-sharp. Enthusiastically recommended for fans of Julie Schumacher (Dear Committee Members; The Shakespeare Requirement), Jane Smiley (Moo), and Tom Perrotta (Tracy Flick Can’t Win).” —Booklist

“It’s not often that the lampoonery of human flaws and foibles is so page-turning you can’t put a book down, but that was exactly my experience with Junior Burke’s latest novel…At turns hilarious, alarming, and smartly sardonic, its skewering of current culture in a story that so (terrifyingly) captures the madness we see in the news every day is spot-on.”—Lorraine Devon Wilke, author of The Alchemy of Noise

“There’s plenty of fun in the language and characterizations, the writing is witty and crisp, shots are fired across the political and religious spectrum, and it’s just farfetched enough to be true.”—Christine Watkins

Praise for The Cold Last Swim:

“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


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. Buddha Was a Cowboy is a finalist for the Mark Twain 2022 Chanticleer International Book Awards for Humor and Satire and on the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association Reading the West fiction longlist. 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)

Author Q&A
View on Edelweiss

Publicity contact: Mary Bisbee-Beek, [email protected]

View Current Book Tours