This Dialogue features an interview with Claire Vaye Watkins, an award-winning novelist and short story writer. Watkins, 32, won the Story Prize and the Dylan Thomas Prize for her collection of short stories, Battleborn, and is also the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her most recent work is the novel Gold Fame Citrus. Watkins is currently an assistant professor in the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan.
Host Marcia Franklin talks with Watkins about the themes of her works, many of which are set in the arid West, and the nexus between her life and her stories. Watkins’ father, Paul Watkins, who died when she was six, was an associate of convicted murder Charles Manson, and the two talk about how his life has figured in some of her writing.
In an Extra available online here, Watkins discusses her interest in writing more about class and inequality, as well as the young writers’ camp she and her husband started in Nevada called the Mojave School. Another Extra features Watkins discussing her controversial essay about writing, “On Pandering.”
The interview was taped at the 2016 Sun Valley Writers’ Conference. Franklin has been conducting interviews at the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference since 2005; past interviews can be viewed at Conversations from the Sun Valley Writers' Conference homepage.