Successful University alumna novelist garners once-in-a-decade honor

Claire Vaye Watkins chosen as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists

Silver Pen Award Recipients Claire Vaye Watkins, left, and C. Elizabeth Raymond.

5/11/2017 | By: Hannah Richardson |

Claire Vaye Watkins, an author and alumna of the English program at the University of Nevada, Reno, was recently chosen as one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists, a once-in-a-decade honor, adding to her collection of writing awards and recognitions. Her mentor at the University, Christopher Coake, received the same honor 10 years ago.

According to Granta's website, Granta's Best of Young recognitions, released decade by decade, introduce the most important voices of each generation - in Britain, America, Brazil and Spain - and have been defining the contours of the literary landscape since 1983.

This year, Granta Magazine chose 21 writers who represent some of literary fiction's most prominent writers. According to Penguin and Random House, this year's judges describe each literary work as representing a "dynamic and diverse" literary scene and providing a "snapshot of the exceptional talent working across the country."

Watkins has authored two books, Battleborn, published in 2012, and Gold Fame Citrus: A Novel, published in 2015. Gold Fame Citrus was named Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, NPR, Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and many other publications. Her books have garnered 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.

Watkins is also a Guggenheim Fellow, which is awarded to those who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts. She was also one of the National Book Foundation's "5 Under 35" in 2012. Her stories have been featured in such publications as 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.

Related Academic Program

Watkins graduated with a bachelor's degree in English from the University and went on to earn her master's of fine arts degree at the Ohio State University, where she was a Presidential Fellow. She is currently on the faculty of the low residency MFA at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is also the co-director and creator, with Derek Palacio, of the Mojave School, a free creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada.

Watkins' books, Battleborn and Gold Fame Citrus: A Novel, are available for purchase on Amazon, IndieBound, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and at Sundance Books.


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