Born and raised in Reno, Nevada, Vlautin started playing guitar and writing songs as a teenager and quickly became immersed in music. It was a Paul Kelly song, based on Raymond Carver’s Too Much Water So Close to Home that inspired him to start writing stories. Vlautin has published three novels, THE MOTEL LIFE (2007) and NORTHLINE (2008) and LEAN ON PETE (2010).
Vlautin founded the band Richmond Fontaine in 1994. The band has produced nine studio albums to date, plus a handful of live recordings and EP’s. Driven by Vlautin’s dark, story-like songwriting, the band has achieved critical acclaim at home and across Europe.
Vlautin currently resides in Scappoose, Oregon. An avid fan of horseracing, Vlautin can often be found writing behind a closed circuit monitor at Portland Meadows racetrack.
“This guy writes like the secret love child of Raymond Carver and Flannery O’Connor–just plain, true, tough, irony-free, heartrending American fiction about people living in the third-world sections of our country.”
“If McMurtry, Johnson, McGuane, and Carver need a fifth to make up a literary five-a-side team, they need look no further than Willy Vlauin.”
“I love Willy Vlautin’s novels. Downbeat and plaintive as they are, the tenderness holds on like the everlasting arms … Willy’s voice is pure and his stories universal. He never loses hope or heart and I believe every word he’s written.”
“Vlautin’s novels are clean as a bone, companionable and profound. He is a master at paring loneliness and longing from his characters, issuing them through downturns, trials and transience without starving their humanity, and always sustaining them, and the reader, with ordinary hope.”