Claire Vaye Watkins was born in Bishop, California in 1984. She was raised in the Mojave Desert, in Tecopa, California and across the state line in Pahrump, Nevada. A graduate of the University of Nevada Reno, Claire earned her MFA from the Ohio State University, where she was a Presidential Fellow. Her stories and essays have appeared in Granta, Tin House, Freeman’s, The Paris Review, Story Quarterly, New American Stories, Best of the West, The New Republic, The New York Times, and many others. A recipient of fellowships from the Sewanee and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences, Claire was also one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” and Granta's "Best Young American Novelists."
She is the author of Gold Fame Citrus and Battleborn, which won the Story Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame.
A Guggenheim Fellow, Watkins has taught at Bucknell, Princeton and the University of Michigan. She is also the co-director, with Derek Palacio, of the Mojave School, a free creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada.