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Lydia
Short Story Writer & Novelist
Professor of Fiction
Travels from: Nashville, TN

“Lydia Conklin’s timely debut, Rainbow Rainbow, should be celebrated as both a work of activism and a literary triumph . . . Reading about these poignant inner lives is absorbing and thought-provoking.” — Rigoberto González, San Francisco Chronicle

Lydia Conklin (they/them) has received a Stegner Fellowship, four Pushcart Prizes, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, a Creative Writing Fulbright in Poland, a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation, work-study and tuition scholarships from Bread Loaf, and fellowships from MacDowell, Yaddo, Emory University, Hedgebrook, Djerassi, the James Merrill House, Lighthouse Works, and elsewhere. Their fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, One Story, McSweeney’s, American Short Fiction, and VQR. They have drawn cartoons for The New Yorker and Narrative Magazine, and graphic fiction for The Believer, Lenny Letter, and the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago. They’ve served as the Helen Zell Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan and are currently an Assistant Professor of Fiction at Vanderbilt University. Their story collection, Rainbow Rainbow, was longlisted for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Award and The Story Prize. Their novel, Songs of No Provenance, is forthcoming in 2025.

Lydia's Featured Titles

Rainbow Rainbow: Stories

Catapult |
Short Stories

Longlisted for The Story Prize & the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection

A fearless collection of stories that celebrate the humor, darkness, and depth of emotion of the queer and trans experience that’s not typically represented: liminal or uncertain identities, queer conception, and queer joy

In this exuberant, prize-winning collection, queer, trans, and gender-nonconforming characters seek love and connection in hilarious and heartrending stories that reflect the complexity of our current moment.

A nonbinary writer on the eve of top surgery enters into a risky affair during the height of COVID. A lesbian couple enlists a close friend as a sperm donor, plying him with a potent rainbow-colored cocktail. A lonely office worker struggling with their gender identity chaperones their nephew to a trans YouTube convention. And in the depths of a Midwestern winter, a sex-addicted librarian relies on her pet ferrets to help resist a relapse at a wild college fair.

Capturing both the dark and lovable sides of the human experience, Rainbow Rainbow establishes debut author Lydia Conklin as a fearless new voice for their generation.

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Reading from my book

This is the most common version, where I read from my book for anywhere from 5-25 minutes, and then either do a Q+A and/or a conversation with a host.

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Anatomy of a Short Story

In this talk I talk about all the technical choices I made in one story, “Laramie Time.” It’s appropriate for writers at all stages, from beginning to advanced.

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The Story of 40 Orcs

In this talk I discuss ways to teach speculative fiction in such a way that it drills down into craft rather than blocking a story from feeling deep and realized on a craft level. This can be a talk for other writers or for teachers of writing.

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My Journey as a Queer Writer

Lydia’s Short Stories Link

Lydia’s Comics Link

Lydia’s Events Link

Lydia’s News Link

Lydia’s Wikipedia Page

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Longlisted for PEN/Robert W. Bingham Award
Longlisted for The Story Prize
4 Pushcart Prizes
Stegner Fellowship
Fulbright Fellow
Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award
Creative Writing Fulbright in Poland
Elizabeth George Foundation Grant
Bread Loaf Scholarship Winner
MacDowell Fellowship
Yaddo Fellowship
Emory University Fellowship
Hedgebrook Fellowship
Djerassi Fellowship
James Merrill House Fellowship
Lighthouse Works Fellowship

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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