Claire Vaye Watkins 

Photo credit: Heike Steinweg

“What is so incredible and essential about an authentic cultural scene is it rejects a value system based on consumption and productivity and instead celebrates creation, critical thought, aesthetics and expression. That can’t be mass marketed.”

Claire Vaye Watkins’ debut novel, Gold Fame Citrus, was published in 2016 to wide acclaim and has been recognized as a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, NPR, Vanity Fair, The Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Huffington Post, and The Atlantic, among many others. Watkins appeared on Granta's prestigious list of Best of Young American Novelists, “5 under 35” fiction writer by the National Book Foundation, and has been awarded the Story Prize, The Dylan Thomas Prize, The New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Rosenthal Family Foundation Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, among others.

"Watkins' vision — not just of a world broken by ecological disaster, but of the sorts of people who would thrive in that world — is mercilessly sharp. She's got a knife eye for details, a vicious talent for cutting to the throbbing vein of animal strangeness that scratches inside all of us." — NPR

Watkins has captivated crowds across the country with her keen sense of humor, and sharp insights about the craft of writing and literary culture as a whole. Her essay “On Pandering” about the masculine bias of literary tastemakers quickly became a viral sensation, igniting impassioned commentary and debate within, and beyond, literary circles.

Watkins is also the author of the celebrated short story collection, Battleborn, and is a member of the faculty at the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers Program and the Low Residency MFA at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is also the founder, with Derek Palacio, of the Mojave School, which offers free creative writing workshops to teenagers in rural Nevada.


 "The whole day was GREAT! First of all, Claire is lovely and down to earth, witty and charming. So that made us all relax a bit. Her master class was a home run, and her talk was rich and inspiring." - Montana State University