MSU NEWS SERVICE

The Center for Western Lands and Peoples at Montana State University will kick off its 2017 “Perspectives on the American West” lecture series with an evening with Claire Vaye Watkins at 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 2, in the Museum of the Rockies’ Hager Auditorium.

Watkins’s lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be preceded by a book-signing at 5:30 p.m. and followed by a reception, both in the museum’s lobby. Doors open at 5:15 p.m.

Watkins is an award-winning author and faculty member at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. She will read selections from her fiction that reflect the inspiration she draws from her Western roots, and discuss regionalism and the West in her work.

Watkins was born and raised in the Mojave Desert. A graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, Watkins earned a Master of Fine Art from Ohio State University, where she was a Presidential Fellow. She is the author of the novel “Gold Fame Citrus” and the story collection “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.

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 Guggenheim Fellow, Watkins was also named one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists. A recipient of fellowships from the Sewanee and Bread Loaf writers’ conferences, she was also one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” in 2012.

Watkins is also the co-director, with Derek Palacio, of the Mojave School, a free creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada.

The American West lecture series features experts from around the country discussing the history, literature and culture of the West; issues affecting the wildlife and fisheries of the region; and the West’s geography, geology and resources. Co-sponsored by the Burton K. Wheeler Center, the series is a program of the Center for Western Lands and Peoples, an interdisciplinary research center within the College of Letters and Science.

Visit montana.edu/west/speakers/2017.html for more information about MSU’s “Perspectives on the American West” lecture series.