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Michael McGarrity holds a BA with distinction in psychology and a master's
degree in clinical social work. As an undergraduate, he held a Ford Foundation
Scholarship at the University of New Mexico. Additionally, he is an honor
graduate of the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy.
His career in criminal justice includes work in corrections, law enforcement,
security, and police officer training. As a Santa Fe County deputy sheriff, he
worked as a patrol officer, community relations officer, training and planning
supervisor, and lead investigator for the sex crimes unit, which he established. He
also has served as an instructor at the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy, an investigator and
caseworker for the Public Defender's Office, and an investigator for a state government agency. In 1987,
he was honored as Santa Fe's Police Officer of the Year.
As a trained psychotherapist, McGarrity specialized in the treatment of high-risk populations including
drug abusers, chronically mentally ill patients, juvenile delinquents, adult felons, and abused and
neglected children. He was responsible for re-establishing mental health services for the New Mexico
Corrections Department after the infamous prison riot of 1980. That year he was recognized by his
peers as the New Mexico Social Worker of the Year.
He served on the faculty of several colleges and universities, teaching courses in psychology and
counseling and functioning as a field supervisor for undergraduate and graduate clinical social work
students. For a number of years he maintained a private practice in the family therapy and consultation
services to community-based treatment agencies. With the publication of Tularosa in 1996, McGarrity
turned to writing full time. Many of his novels have been national best sellers.
In 2004 he received the New Mexico Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts -- Literature. He is
also the 2015 recipient of the Frank Waters Exemplary Literary Achievement Award and the 2015 Santa
Fe Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts – Literature. He has been instrumental in establishing the
Hillerman-McGarrity Creative Writing Scholarship at the University of New Mexico, the Richard
Bradford Memorial Creative Writing Scholarship at the Santa Fe Community College, and the N. Scott
Momaday Creative Writing Scholarship at the Institute of American Indian Arts.
He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his wife Emily Beth (Mimi).