Courtney Maum

Courtney Maum is the author of the novels Costalegre, Touch, and I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You, and an award-winning guide for writers, Before and After the Book Deal. A writing coach and educator, Courtney’s mission is to help people hold on to the joy of art-making in a culture obsessed with turning artists into brands. Courtney’s essays and articles about creativity have been widely published in outlets like The New York Times, The Guardian, and Interview. She lives in Litchfield County, Connecticut, with her family, where she runs a nonprofit learning collaborative for artists called The Cabins.


  • Beautiful, lyrical. . . . The past interweaves with the present in this fabulous, memorable memoir.

    —Good Morning America

  • Expansive. . . . rekindling a childhood love of horses as an adult—and as a mother—is a force for positive good within [Maum’s] family; the barn becomes a place to bond with her daughter, and working with the animals teaches her to find patience and generosity as a partner and parent.

    —Vanity Fair

  • A beautiful story about animals and our love for animals and very relatable.


  • With humor and insight, a novelist and young mother reflects on how a year of indulging in her childhood pleasure of horseback riding helped her slip out of depression and recover her lost identity.

    —The New York Times Book Review

  • Artfully written and deeply relatable.


  • Lessons about the soulful value of acting just for pleasure.

    —Electric Lit

  • Ride with Maum and celebrate her using horses to redefine what it means to be a mother.

    —Chicago Review of Books

  • Inspiring.

    —The U.S. Polo Association

  • Tender, honest, and beautifully written.

    —Kate Baer, #1 Bestselling author of What Kind Of Woman

  • Searing, lucid, tender and wise, The Year of the Horses is a moving, beautifully-written interrogation into a complicated, privileged childhood and its aftermath. Courtney Maum weaves together the sensory, tactile world of horses and their capacity to heal us, along with one of the most illuminating and powerful depictions of depression I have ever read. Oh, and it’s also a page-turner. I tore through it with immense pleasure.

    —Dani Shapiro, author Inheritance

  • Gorgeously written, wry but loving, heartbreaking and, most of all, roving. . . . The Year of the Horses is a memoir of power and beauty and pain that moves across the world like the beautiful horses that carry it.

    —Lisa Taddeo, author of Animal

  • Touching and insightful.

    —The Millions

  • I was sold at Courtney Maum and “horses,” TBH, but pleasantly surprised to learn about the other threads in this one: Maum’s experience of reckoning with depression, plus historical portraits of other horseback-riding ladies. Saddle up, we’re going riding.


  • Author of Touch and Costalegre, Courtney Maum writes honestly and openly about confronting depression in her 30s and, when all else failed, taking up horseback riding again.

    —Katie Couric Media

  • In this intricate but clearly-told narrative of questioning her mind, her body, and her choices, Maum investigates not only what led her to a deep depression in her late thirties, but the conversations around what depression looks like, who is “allowed” to struggle with mental health, and what it means to reckon with a past she thought she’d left behind.

    —The Rumpus

  • Beautiful and personal.

    —WAMC, NPR Affiliate

  • Stunning.

    —The Arkansas International

  • Courtney Maum dives into her own life with the same fearlessness and honesty that she brings to her fiction. The Year of the Horses is a beautiful, unflinching exploration of darkness and self-forgiveness, terror and tenderness.

    —Hala Alyan, author of Salt Houses

  • If, like me at age 50, you have a hankering to resume riding again (never mind that it’s been 34 years), this is the book for you. Courtney will show you her way to this particular form of personal salvation.

    —Sally Mann, author of Hold Still

  • Courney Maum writes not from an ideal of who she should be but as she is; it lacks performative overtones or those typical bits where the reader is assured the author is self-aware. No, it’s nothing like that—The Year of the Horses sings like the world actually feels, offering readers permission to be who we are, written by one of the best, a writer’s writer, with a maturity that reveals her decades long devotion to her craft.

    —Holly Whitaker, author of Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol

  • The concept of finding safety in a dangerous sport won’t make sense to everyone, but the way that Courtney found meaning and magic in horses resonates with me. As a polo player, I loved the sometimes laugh-out-loud journey of an adult trying against all odds to learn the sport of kings. This is a great memoir that somehow manages to be both deeply moving, and funny.

    —Kareem Rosser, author of Crossing the Line: A Fearless Team of Brothers and the Sport That Changed Their Lives Forever

  • A wonderful read, whether you are a horse person or not.

    —Hudson Valley Magazine

  • An inspiration. . . . celebrates preserving one’s inner wildness.

    —Polo Lady Magazine

  • The Year of The Horses will appeal to readers looking for an alternative journey out of dark times, those interested in equine and animal connections and anyone who wants to read a lyrical, insightful journey towards finding what feels like enough.

    —Hippocampus Magazine

  • Revelatory.

    —Full Stop

  • Engaging, enjoyable and full of horse knowledge.

    —Chick Lit Central

  • Poignant.

    —Dandelion Chandelier

  • Many women may find much to relate to in Maum’s vulnerable and human story, which could be a favorite for book clubs.


  • Entertaining. . . . vivid and exuberantly cathartic.

    —Publishers Weekly

  • Candid, deeply moving.

    —Shelf Awareness

  • Honest and superbly written. . . . The Year of the Horses is gusty, rewarding, and witty.

    —COWGIRL Magazine

  • Delightful. . . . In Lara, Maum has given a little-considered daughter a more hopeful future.

    —The New York Times Book Review

  • Taut and lush.

    —Washington Post

  • Reveals the power a mother holds over her daughter.


  • Delivered in spades. Highly recommended.

    —Glamour, Best Books of the Decade

  • Slender, intelligent. . . . A portrait of the young woman amidst the artists.

    —The Boston Globe

  • Beautiful. . . . A story about growing up and looking for love.


  • A whimsical and poignant account of art and self-discovery, explored through the lens of a girl who yearns to be understood.


  • An excellent way to spend a summer weekend.


  • A vividly drawn novel of family, sacrifice, and the limits of understanding.

    —Southern Living

  • A mesmerizing story of alienation, intimacy, and the elusive powers of art.


  • Its charm lies less in its summarizable qualities . . . than in Maum’s superb balance between humor and grief, and her talent for saying just enough, never too much.


  • Compelling. . . . freshly original and unusual.

    —Book Riot

  • Maum’s coming-of-age novel among some of Europe’s elite is heartbreaking in its evocation of a teenage girl whose mother collects artists to save but who ignores the daughter struggling not to drown.

    —Star Tribune

  • An intimate fever dream.

    —Los Angeles Review of Books

  • An arty, lavish novel, Costalegre examines one of the relationships that is often the most surreal to dissect: the one between mother and daughter.


  • A rich and delectable tale of art, love, and war.

    —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

  • A brilliantly arch and haunting novel of privilege and deprivation.


  • Enchanting.

    —Kirkus, Starred Review

  • A soul-searching, atmospheric novel set in a hot, humid climate as torrid as the affairs of the characters who inhabit it.

    —Library Journal

  • Mesmerizing and unsettling, Costalegre is a wonder, and Courtney Maum shows herself once again to be a writer of many gifts. This is a book for anyone who’s ever loved, and not felt sufficiently loved in return; and for anyone who’s had to try to grow up; for, that is, everyone.

    —R.O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries

  • As heady, delirious, and heartbreaking as a young girl just beginning to fall in love with the world.

    —Samantha Hunt, author of The Seas

  • A spectacular high-wire act that dazzles and devastates.

    —Laura van den Berg, author of The Third Hotel

  • A special book, by a writer who proves on these pages that she can do anything.

    —Julie Buntin, author of Marlena

  • Memorable and meaningful, Maum’s work remains with me as a reminder of love in the agony of teenage years and art in the terror of war.

    —Amelia Gray, author of Isadora

  • With its captivating mix of true-to-life characters and WWII history, Costalegre is surreal, intelligent, and full of integrity.

    —Mark Eisner, author of Neruda: The Biography of a Poet