Author Photo

Peter Brown Hoffmeister is the author of five books including the recent novels This Is The Part Where You Laugh (Knopf, Random House, 2016) and Too Shattered For Mending (Knopf, Random House, 2017), a novel that’s featured in this review by the New York Times.

  • Hoffmeister’s novels have earned starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews[16], Booklist[17], Publisher’s Weekly[18], School Library Journal, VOYA[19], and The Bulletin.
  • His novel This Is The Part Where You Laugh was a School Library Journal Popular Pick[20], selected for the “VOYA Perfect Tens 2016” year-end list[21], and earned an American Library Association distinction for “Best Fiction” of 2016.[22]
  • His novel Too Shattered For Mending was named “Best Fiction” list of 2017 by Bank Street.

Hoffmeister is an author, rock climber, public speaker, outdoor expert, and athlete gear-tester for Ridgemont Outfitters and Elevation Bouldering Gym.  He lives in Eugene, Oregon with his wife Jennie and two daughters, Rain and Roo, and teaches at South Eugene High School:  Literature, creative writing, outdoor pursuits, and survival. He also served as the spring 2015 Writer-In-Residence of Joshua Tree National Park.

In 2018, Hoffmeister raced world-record-holder and three-time world-champion speed climber Hans Florine in a 3000-foot rock climbing race in Eugene, Oregon titled an “El Cap Day.” Hoffmeister won the race in 2 hours, 5 minutes, and 55 seconds, beating the old Columns El Cap record of 3:07:51. Florine got the second fastest time ever in 2 hours, 27 minutes, and 7 seconds in his first visit to The Columns.

Hoffmeister’s victory was featured in Outside Magazine and Rock and Ice Magazine.

His first book, The End of Boys, was released by Soft Skull, Spring 2011, earning a Goodreads Best Books of 2011 Selection.  His second book, Let Them Be Eaten By Bears:  A Fearless Guide to Taking Our Kids into the Great Outdoors was released by Perigee (Penguin Book Group) in May, 2013, and is being translated into Italian by the publisher RCS Libri/Rizzoli and into Chinese by Good Earth Publishing. Bears was also selected as one of Parents Magazine’s Top 5 Books of 2013. His first novel, Graphic the Valley, was released by Tyrus Books in July of 2013 and earned starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal, featured reviews by The Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly.

His fiction collection, Loss, won the 2006 Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship, and his essay, “How to Break Up With Your Climbing Partner”, won the Rock and Ice National Bloggers’ Brawl. His features have appeared in Writer’s Digest, Vice Magazine, Climbing Magazine, Rock and Ice Magazine, and Gripped Magazine.

He is no longer on the Huffington Post’s blog team.

Hoffmeister has appeared recently on the following shows:

– The One Bad Mother podcast – Maximum Fun Network

– “The Jordan Rich Show” – CBS Radio, Boston, MA

– “AM Northwest,” KATU TV, Portland, OR

– “Dialogue: Between the Lines With Susan Wingate” – Blogtalk Radio, San Diego, CA

– “Conversations Live With Vicki St. Clair,” KKNW, Seattle, WA

– “Going Home,” KXYL, Dallas, TX

– “The Dean and Don Show,” ABC radio, Iowa

– “Good Parenting,” US/Canada

– “Rude Awakening,” WOCM, Baltimore

– “Coastal Daybreak,” WTKF, North Carolina

– “Tron In The Mornings,” Kona Coast Broadcasting, Colorado

– “Columbia Morning With David Lyle,” KFRU, Missouri

– “Central New York Saturday Morning News,” WSYR, New York

– “Kacey On The Radio,” WHUD, New York, New York

– “The Business of Wisdom,” Dr. Alvin Jones, Washington D.C./North Carolina

– “Penguin Tracks,” Radio For Teen Girls, KOPN, Missouri

– “Kentucky Focus,” Regional Radio, Kentucky

– “The Mitch Carr Show,” CBS Radio, Texas

– “Fox Radio Virginia,” Mike Schikman

– “The Mountain Life,” NPR, Utah

– “Field Notes,” Cincinatti, Ohio

– “Wisconsin On Air,” NPR, Wisconsin

To request speaking engagements, readings, or interviews, email pbhoffmeister@gmail.com.

Hoffmeister is currently at work on his sixth book, a fourth novel.

77 thoughts on “About

    • RE: Confessions:

      You aren’t the last without a cell phone. We stand united and strong haha. Seriously though, It really isn’t that bad. My life is how it was and always has been. Internet for me is sitting at a desktop. People cannot find me if im not at home and honestly im kind of thankful for that. Drives them nuts and I love it. If it’s something needed, I’ll always have someone near who has a cell.

      It’s just nice knowing you cannot be reached everywhere, anywhere. Mind you, I’m only 35. I can only imagine how much further they will push this cell phone prospect on me before i give in.

      Thanks for your perspective.



      • To Be Determined –
        My feelings exactly. As soon as I leave my work or home, I am unavailable, gloriously unavailable. Internet is at set locations. If I’m climbing, I’m climbing. If I’m at the river, I’m at the river. No way to call me. And I love that.
        I don’t know what it would take for me to get a phone. But it would take a lot.
        – PBH


  1. Pete!
    It’s Nick Poust from ’08 IOP. How’s everything going? Teaching still going great? I certainly miss you and your class! You were by far my favorite!

    I hope all is well with you and yours,


  2. Peter,
    through the years you have taught your students so many of life’s important lessons, both in the classroom, and in the beautiful and rugged Oregon outdoors. Now they look to you for a compass to guide them down the path of tragic loss of their close friends and classmates. Being who you are will point them to strong and meaningful truths about dealing with death, and how to face hard questions that have no answers, and how to live on with deeper meaning and appreciation for all of life and its fragile beauty. I’m so proud to have you as my son-in-law. See you soon.


  3. Dear Mr. Hoffmeister, I read the write-up of your new book in Writer’s Digest and wondered about your name. My favorite professor at U. of Colorado, Boulder, was Dr. Hoffmeister, geography department. I haven’t heard the Hoffmeister name since I graduated in 1953 and wondered whether you are a relative of his. Congratulations on your writing career. I’ve been making a living by writing all my life, and Dr. Hoffmeister’s geography classes sparked my interest in travel. I’ve been fortunate to have seen most of the world. Anyway, if you’re a relative of Dr. Hoffmeister, you can be proud of an intelligent and caring ancestor. Good luck. Janet Go


  4. Peter — I’m Bill Sullivan, the Eugene author who writes hiking guidebooks and does an outdoor column in the RG. I also organize the annual Authors & Artists Fair, a fundraiser for library summer reading programs, on the second Saturday of December. This year it’s held at the Lane County Fairgrounds next to Holiday Market from 10am to 6pm on Sat., Dec. 10. Authors bring their own books to autograph and sell (or we can have the UO Duck Store handle sales for you), donating 25% of sales to the Lane Library League. Would you be able to join us this year? Best, Bill (sullivan@efn.org)


  5. Hi Peter-

    My friend Sarah G. sent me a copy of your book and I was truly amazed and thankful to be introduced to your powerful story. I’ve never read something so unassuming but direct. No excuses, no BS. Here are my flaws, my families flaws, here we are. You have an amazing balance and poetry in your writing that is rarely seen and I look forward to seeing what is next from you. Thank you for putting yourself out there, for sharing your life, both the troubles and the triumphs. Truly an inspiring journey of survival and forgiveness.

    All the best-


  6. Just finished End of Boys. First time i’ve ever written an author. I could not put it down. It was a free download on my kindle, but won’t be free for long.
    Friend told me that if a book is recommended to you 3 times, it’s a must read. I’ll be recommending this to many!
    Congratulations on writing a beautiful story. Wish I could do that. How freeing it must be to be able to that.
    Jenny D


    • Jenny D –
      Thank you so much for your support and encouragement. Our goal in the giveaway was to spread the story whether or not it ever sold more copies. I’m so glad that the book got into your hands.
      Take care,
      PS – You can write your story too.


    • It is as of yet unpublished. I folded the better stories into my current collection, The Great American Afterlife and Other Stories, and we’ve talked about pitching those this summer. Thanks for asking, PBH


  7. Hi Mr. Hoffmeister,

    You taught at my middle school when I was in 6th grade and then many years later I taught both of your daughters swimming lessons while I was in college. My girlfriend and I ran into your wife at Mt. Pisgah a few weeks ago. I recognized her because the shirt she was wearing had the name of your book printed on it. Your wife said that you were needing volunteers for the Outdoor Program at South Eugene High. I was part of the UO’s program and am very interested in volunteering with yours if you need help. Thanks again and I really enjoyed your book. Seth.


  8. Hi Mr. Hoffmeister,

    You were my middle school teacher when I was in 6th grade. Many years later I taught your two daughters swimming lessons while I was in college. My girlfriend and I ran into your wife at Mt. Pisgah a few weeks ago. I only recognized her because the shirt she was wearing had the name of your book printed on it. She said that you were needing volunteers for the Outdoor Program at South Eugene High. I was a member of the outdoor program at the UO and would very much like to volunteer with your program if you need the help. Thanks again and I really enjoyed having you as a teacher.



  9. Peter,

    Stumbled upon your article quite by accident. I concur on violent video games but went a step further – I didn’t allow ANY video games for my children while growing up; I immersed my kids in soccer and today have no television, although I enjoy a film now and then compliments of netflix through the internet. Certain media can be a very dangerous element and assuredly, mostly a waste of time. I can read far faster and entertain more varied and complex views on the news than listening to some pretty and/or narcissistic journalism graduate on television. I have three well-mannered and mature kids in their twenties but continue to work on “wife management”. “By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.” ~ Socrates


  10. OH, forgot to mention, I had a similar experience with HuffPost. I wrote this, then left:

    You didn’t allow posting of my commentaries on Hillary.

    Obviously the standard to which you moderated me was to not allow dissent. I am in the HuffPost Gulag it seems. I don’t often swear or personally offend, that is unless telling the truth offends, but I do love sarcasm. It seems that the HuffPost is in agreement with Schultz, Barbara Walters & friends and Sandra Fluke. Children, can any of you say “hypocrisy”?

    “So when liberal Schultz called conservative Ingraham a slut last year, the ladies of The View were chuckles and guffaws. After all, Joy says it all the time. But when conservative Limbaugh called liberal Fluke a slut, it’s the end of the world as we know it. Any questions?” – Noel Shepherd

    I shall comment no more. You libbies may wallow in the mud of your desires, scratching your backs and rubbing each other with your nonsense without me correcting you. I waste not my time on those who would attempt to censure my freedom of speech, no matter how silly, trite or offensive it may be to you. I only seek to reveal the truth. Anyone who is impressed with the actress and misleader, Hillary, ought to have their head examined. I am a constitutionalist, not an “American Idol” emo voter.

    I have been busy and so have not done it, but I will go henceforth and unsubscribe myself from your paternalistic rag. And no, Thank YOU!


    Steve Tanton


  11. I really appreciate this work. As the Director of a Group that serves families throughout the metro area I live in (Minneapolis – St. Paul), I am committed to finding ways to build and strengthen families including awareness. I think one of the dilemmas is the split of the family has created less access to fathers and ultimately mothers (who are busy working as well) and kids are left to their own devices. I had a mom who was a stay at home mom and she worked hard to steward the time we had as kids. I am committed to finding ways to build and strengthen families and keep kids safer and doing activities that build them up. Thank you for writing about video games in your piece about shooters. Sincerely, Brian Kelley – Director, All About Family http://www.allaboutfam.org


  12. Hey Hoff,

    My name is Colin outdoor documentary filmmaker/guide/photographer…anything outdoor. I got a website http://www.suntimefilms.com which I think you would enjoy browsing through. I haven’t read your books but plan to check them out. I can just tell from titles and descriptions they ring truth in my ears. I graduated from western washington uni. in outdoor recreation and film production. I’ve been travelling around the world doing video projects and writing about my adventures. I am heading home to Seattle for the upcoming summer and river season (currently in the Marshall Islands). I would like to swap contacts as we have lots of similarities and could possibly work on something down the trail…. Cheers!

    Colin Sternagel
    SunTime Films


    • Colin – It sounds like we have a lot in common. Feel free to email you when you get back to the Pacific Northwest. – PBH


  13. This is the third time I’ve written this post just to erase it and start new. In regards to your article on video games being used to train America’s youth into killing: I liked it. You made some very good points. It’s widely accepted that the first “first person shooter” video game advanced enough to simulate anything realistic was released in 1997 (Golden Eye on the Nintendo 64). What about the dozens of school shootings that had occurred before ’97? Granted, school shootings have increased since the years after the game’s release, but as many of your more seasoned teachers will tell you, good parenting has declined, along with the aggressiveness of this country’s mental health system. Do you have any evidence to support that video games are the culprit, and not any other variables?


    • I was simply asking a question, wondering if violent video games played a role in the outcomes, and also asking if violent video games were good for anyone.


  14. Your article “On School Shooters – The Huffington Post Doesn’t Want You To Read This” is brilliant and very intuitive. Lt Col Dave Grossman has said much the same thing, with research to back his thoughts. You’d enjoy “Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill.”


  15. Pete, I’d like to discuss a matter of permission with you. Please contact me at the e-mail address provided with a contact address. Thanks, so much! Tim


  16. I read your article On School Shooters – The Huffington Post Doesn’t Want You To Read This the only difference is i walked around with a knife almost all the time, played A LOT of violent video games , I never threatened anyone with my knife, hardly got in fights, the most friends in middle school and high school i could count on 2 hands barely, another difference is both my parents are Marines so I was taught to only use violence when extremely necessary I dont even like to kill an animal unless its done in need, also I was disciplined whenever I did something wrong I was also sat down and told games are not real and what happens in them is fake to a point yet I never blew people away. So what im trying to get at is it depends on your Mental condition if you’re a nut then yes you will take it more seriously than the average kid who plays the same games the same amount of time and if you did your research like you said you did than you will also find out most of the Shootings were done my unstable people.


    • True. Unstable people are much less likely to be able to handle heavy loads of violent images. But do any of us need those images in our heads?


  17. Mr. Hoffmeister,

    A retired elementary teacher sent us an attachment with your school shooter story. We were totally drawn in by your story. We are currently preparing to launch an outdoor diversion program for youth in our area. We cannot believe what we read in your story. We have believed and seen how nature and opportunities can change lives.

    My husband is the executive director of a secure treatment for juvenile delinquents. He has been in the business for more than twenty years. We both have a great passion for youth and opportunities in nature. We would love to speak with you regarding our program. My husband is working on his doctoral and will be writing his dissertation this summer. The focus is diversion, youth and nature! We would be honored to share our mission with you!

    D, Cummings


  18. I’ve often thought that video games, movies, TV & all media should be limited just as alcohol & porno is & only available for purchase/use by age-appropriate adults. After reading your ‘On School Shooters’ Huff Post refused article in an email, I was glad to see that others are realizing the same as me. I’m so sad they didn’t print it!


  19. Peter, do you have a Facebook fan page that we can follow? I absolutely LOVED your article on video games and school shootings.


  20. Peter, i would like to submit your writeup on gun violence to a local newspaper. Can I have your permission to do so? I also teach an outdoor program here in Northern Maine at East Grand High School.


    • Dave –
      Thanks for asking, and for reading. You may do whatever you like with this. I put it on my blog to get it out there for free.
      That’s cool that you run an outdoor program too. Maine is an incredible backdrop for outdoor pursuits.
      Good luck.
      – PBH


  21. Peter,
    I recently came upon your blog via Meg Meeker’s post about gun violence. Very impressed and am thinking that you and I were in high school at the same time. I am a family doctor with children of my own and am shaken by how we are losing ground in raising children appropriately, with nature as a core competency (yet so lacking in the curriculum!). In clinical practice I see many children struggle, especially boys, and their parents struggle alongside as they wrestle over society’s huge influence through media and other sources of violence. Many end up casualties (literally and figuratively).
    I praise you in your work, and wish you the very best with your recent publication. I’ve written about you and your work on my blog.


    • I am so thankful that you and a few other family doctors and pediatricians weighed in on this issue. We really are losing ground, and it’s very sad. But doctor’s understand what’s at stake here: the minds and bodies of our children. Thank you for reading and for blogging.


  22. Dear Peter,

    Great article. I am sickened that this was not accepted. You own your stuff and you are saying it like it is! Nothing will change unless men can own up and take it up with themselves just what they are doing, with attitudes towards violence, manhood, community etc. We are indeed responsible for what we are creating for our youth. Add the sickening amount of degrading and violent pornography and I can’t imagine what kind of world we expect to have. Thank you , thank you!!!! Keep up the great work!


    • Hi Jennifer –
      Sorry. I lost this comment until now. Thank you for your encouragement and support. We men do need to own up. You’re correct.
      Thank you for being positive. I appreciate your gratitude.


  23. Mr. Brown-Hoffmeister – I came across your Huffington Post story on Facebook. I am the Committee Chair for a Parent Leture Series at a school in California (Bay Area). I am wondering if you are interested in sharing your story and views on gun violence committed by kids with our community (both in school and broader community). We look for lecturers who can provide thought provoking content and actionable behaviors and you are just the right fit! If you’re interested, please email with your fees and availability.


    • Hi Erica,
      I’d be interested in helping with your Gun Violence Lecture Series. I don’t mean to be inappropriate on Peter’s page but he’s a fan of my website, FamilyeJournal.com, which is designed to improve family connection which leads to improved behaviors by kids especially in the areas of suicide, bullying, fighting, alcohol, drugs, etc. Please contact me, I’d love to chat: kstrauss@familyejournal.com.
      Thanks, Kevin


  24. Hi, Mr. Hoffmeister. I recently received and read your new book “Let Them Be Eaten By Bears.” First of all, THANK YOU! Second, I wrote a rave review and am recommending it to all of our fans. I love your writing style. It felt like I was having a conversation with a friend. The book was so fun and easy to read. I hope parents, grandparents, step-parents, etcetera read your book and apply it. Nature is such an important part of living, and we try to encourage it through our GYFO Initiative as well. Everybody would benefit from your book. Thank you again for the wonderful read–I wish you much success!

    Angela of http://www.FamilyBandage.com


    • Angela – Thank you so much for reading, reviewing, and encouraging me. I am very grateful. And keep up your own good work. -PBH


  25. Hello Peter
    Just read your book …… The End of Boys
    Thank you so much for “sharing”. Because of all your experiences, you have
    much to give back to those who hunger to find their way, their particular path in life.
    Your story is inspiring, and provides encouragement and hope.

    God Bless You.



    • Karen – Thank you for reading and for encouraging me. That was a difficult book to write, a dark story to return to. I’m really thankful that it was inspiring. – PBH


  26. Thank you for writing what you did. I was in a bad place when I was in school. I was made fun of and laughed at. Middle school and high school was hard. I just want to say thank you for sharing. At least I know years ago you were just like me.

    Thank you
    Camera Happy 🙂


    • Thank you for sending this note. And “Camera Happy” sounds good. I hope you’re having fun, getting out. It’s nice that we don’t have to be stuck in our teen years forever.
      – PBH


    • Camera happy –
      Thank you for reading and for coming here to comment. Somehow I missed this until now. Sorry about that. I appreciate the support though.
      “Camera Happy” makes me think that you’re doing better. I hope that’s true. Life does get better after high school.
      Take care,


  27. Peter-

    Reading your book and got to the part about your back yard golf. I happen to work with the makers of what we call off road golf. Check out their website at http://www.off-road golf.com

    Love the book! Sounds like a gear program you are running



  28. I saw you speak last night and just wanted to say thank you! It was the second time I’ve seen you speak and I love hearing you read — I can’t wait to read your new book and I look forward to seeing another reading in the future. Thanks!! — Jess


    • Jess –
      Thank you so much for coming to the reading. I really appreciate the support. People were so nice last night.
      Thanks for the encouragement on the new book as well.
      – Peter


  29. Pingback: Parents Picks: My Top 5 Books of 2013 | Mom Must Read

    • Thank you, Kristen Kemp. I’m incredibly honored to be included on your list. And it makes me so happy that your kids are out there, hiking and camping, even barefoot. I love it.


  30. Hoffmeister! I’m wondering if you’re still around Eugene? Teaching at South? You may remember me from your first year teaching at South? Let’s get in touch. My first book just got published and I want to cross pollinate some of our projects.


  31. your doing awesome things. I love reading your articles and i hope to buy your books soon. I am a single mother with an 8 year old daughter and i want to teach her to love and appreciate nature more.


  32. I came across “Let Them Be Eaten By Bears” in a Sport Chalet a few weeks ago and picked it up even though I have no children. It resonated with me and I think the messages within it need to be shared with more people, especially those responsible for the upbringing of children. I, too, am attempting to share how outdoor pursuits can benefit us. Earlier this year, I started a short web-series introducing various activities to a public that may not realize those activities are something they can pursue. If you have a chance, check it out at http://www.gogetoutside.com. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Good luck and I am looking forward to reading “The End of Boys” soon.


  33. Your story in the Register Guard reminds me so much of my own brain injury from a car crash nearly three years ago. Recovery has been painstakingly slow and incomplete. Your quote, “Even with the everyday things that happen, I can’t always tell yesterday from two weeks ago.” rings true for me as does problems with spelling and other lingering issues. Because I am now in my 60’s people assume my mental lapses are due to age.

    I, too, am allowed to drive, but not bike, kayak, etc. for fear of what another injury would do. The biggest challenge for me remains and that is figuring out how to get my life back. You have probably heard from others that you are not alone, but if you want to contact a fellow TBI person, don’t hesitate.

    Wishing you a powerful future.


    • Dear Christine,
      Thank you so much for this thoughtful note. I really appreciate it.
      Don’t believe them when they say that age is the main contributing factor for you. You and I both know what our normals were right before the accidents. We know how significantly things have changed.
      Stay strong and keep on.
      – P


  34. So I absolutely loved Graphic the Valley! It was a wonderful read! Do you have any recommendations for similar reads? Also, my copy has what looks to be your autograph on the title page, do you regularly sign your books, just wondering if it’s a legit autograph. Thanks!


    • Thanks so much for reading! And yes, the signature is mine – I’m sure. The Pacific Northwest Booksellers asked me to sign 150 copies for distribution. Then the California Independent Booksellers had me sign 50 more. So you probably got one of those 200 somehow…
      As far as book recommendations go, it depends on the elements that you liked. Here are some ideas:
      Cheryl Strayed’s Wild combines grittiness with the natural world.
      The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is all about a difficult growing up (such an excellent book).
      My students loved Pete Fromm’s Indian Creek Chronicles (like Fromm the coyote).
      Also, a newspaper writer/critic reviewed Graphic and said it was similar to Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang.
      Have you read any of those?


  35. Peter – Just came across your article in Rock & Ice. I’m a Eugene climber and put out a monthly newsletter called Oregon Climbs – everything from events to closures, stewardship opportunities to reading materials – all focused on outdoor climbing. I am including a link to your article and a mention of your most recent book in my May letter. Do you frequent Crux or Elevation these days? I may well have seen you at some point. I also plan Smith Rock Craggin’ Classic, a climbing event in mid-September at Smith Rock. Hope to see you around! Sarah Wolfe – Oregon Climbs


    • Sarah, cool to hear from you! I’m sure I’ve seen you at Elevation. Also, that’s cool that you organize the Smith Rock Craggin’ Classic. I’ll have to get involved in that.
      Thanks for mentioning my book. Also, thanks for your interest in my article and the race against Hans Florine.
      Maybe I’ll see you there on June 10th? We’re planning on racing at 9:00, Sunday, the 10th.
      I’ll loo for you at the gym!


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