Sterling Bennett is a writer living in Guanajuato, an ancient mining capital in central Mexico.

My writing deepened and became much more prolific when I started to live in Mexico. Moving to another culture and learning a new language can do that. My first novel Playing for Pancho Villa speaks to this process. The main character, Frank Holloway, didn’t understand much about México either when he rode down into it in 1916 and got embroiled in the Revolution.

Comandante Ibarra, the name of my second novel, parallels my intensifying concern for human rights generally and the historical plight of the Yaqui Indians specifically around 1899. It is the story of a man taking extraordinary risks to defend the victims of two predatory governments, the U.S. and Mexico, and their mining companies. As author, I minimized any political risks, by cloaking my opinions in a historical novel and in a language that the vast majority of Mexicans do not read—English.

The third novel, The Queen of the Pánuco, completes the trilogy. I chose the geographical area and period in Mexico by literally laying a ruler across the country, starting with Guaymas on the Sea of Cortez in the west, cutting roughly through the middle of the country—Chihuahua City—and hitting the Gulf of Mexico at Tampico, trying to maintain a roughly sixteen-year space between novels. I settled for 1938 instead of 1932 as the period for the last novel. I knew nothing about Tampico but began digging, believing that a story can be found and told anywhere a writer looks. Especially in Mexico.

This site contains information about my published work, my essays and short stories, and my thoughts about writing and life.

Sterling Bennett’s Novels

Comandante Ibarra

At the end of 1899, in Mexican state of Sonora, National Rural Policeman Miguel Ángel Ibarra, recovering from a small stroke that has changed his view of the world, begins to think that the rights described in the Mexican Constitution of 1857 should apply to the Yaqui Indians as well, whom, first Spanish, then Mexican […]

Playing For Pancho Villa

The novel Playing for Pancho Villa is a story about Frank Holloway, a young mining engineer based on my own silver–mining grandfather, the fellow in the bow tie in the photo below. At the age of twenty-eight, Frank suffers from mercury poisoning. His doctor tells him to take a trip and get some fresh air. […]

The Queen of the Pánuco

The Queen of the Pánuco The Queen of the Pánuco is the story of a Mexican Federal Policeman once tasked with protecting the President of Mexico Lázaro Cárdenas, but now disgraced for petty theft. He and his wife Mariana travel to the oil port Tampico on the Mexican Gulf Coast, looking for their estranged son […]