Jaclyn Watterson
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Image (c) Sarah Evenson 2016




Jaclyn Watterson’s first book, a collection of fictions and horrors entitled Ventriloquisms, won the 2016 Spokane Prize for Short Fiction, judged by Alexis M. Smith. The book officially released OCTOBER 1, 2017 from Willow Springs Books/Eastern Washington University.

You can order the book here

Listen to Jaclyn read from and discuss the book on Spokane Public Radio's The Bookshelf here



"Like mixtures concocted by an evil side of Radclyffe Hall and a Grimm brother gone quietly rogue, Jaclyn Watterson’s precise, finely-frameworked fictions glow with a vintage sheen. Meanwhile, the contemporary world of white knuckles and bad luck is somewhere below the margins, racing like a chyron. Ventriloquisms is serious, hilarious, and highly recommended."

-Stacey Levine, author of Frances Johnson, Dra—, and The Girl with Brown Fur

“Using the conventional language of blurbs to describe Jaclyn Watterson’s collection of stories, Ventriloquisms, is like trying to describe an elephant or giraffe to someone who has only seen cows and horses.

“Beautifully written, unsettling, hilarious, breath-taking, dark, strange. In these short narratives that go off like the diverse finale of a fireworks show, Watterson transmutes pain and loss into bursts of lyricism and surrealism. She uses absurdity to get to the realistic core of violence, family, sexuality, rivalry, oppression, and possessiveness.

“Watterson is completely unafraid of the visceral, of decay, of violation, of transgressive laughter and of the profane, and with her mastery of diction and seemingly unlimited register, she makes all of those things weirdly sing.

“The writing and forms are frequently startling, but they are always getting at something profound. This collection takes everything it contains—no matter how thematically familiar—and makes it brand new. If these stories are ventriloquisms, then the voice behind them is masterful.”

~Tim Parrish, author of Fear and What FollowsThe Jumper, and Red Stick Men

"One of the great joys of being an avid reader of fiction is coming across a writer who makes you question the ways you have read stories in the past. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s like discovering a sixth sense, a new way of bearing witness and processing the world. Such was the surprise and delight I felt reading Ventriloquisms."

-Alexis Smith, author of Marrow Island and Glaciers


“Harrowing, subversive, and gorgeously provocative, Jaclyn Watterson’s brilliant flashes of fiction interrogate what it means to have a self, a soul, a life, a body. The speakers here are indeed ventriloquists: seductive companions capable of turning the psyche inside out, exposing inchoate fears and dangerous desires as vivid dreams of lived experience.

“Travelers bold enough to venture into this strange new world will encounter exhilarating fusions of humor and horror, a proliferation of forbidden pleasures, and the wild despair of abject terror.

“Every revelatory sentence unconceals extravagant tenderness: we can’t exterminate time to save the ones we love. Their ceaseless prayers rise from the abyss, compelling us to contemplate unmitigated grief and the infinite mystery of our biological limits.

Yes, as one mesmerizing voice tells us: You reach the place of annihilation, and you reach deeper. . . the fog clears to reveal—fog. You cannot wake up.

~ Melanie Rae Thon, author of The Voice of the RiverSilence & Song, and The 7th Man



“Jaclyn Watterson has the gift of hearing and channeling voices from worlds most of us claim never to have encountered—yet these alternately beguiling and terrifying realms form the daily terrain at our feet.

“In Watterson’s hands, simple declarative sentences acquire multiple layers of associations:

“beautiful, broken symmetries … make Ventriloquisms a unique and haunting debut.”

~Tracy Daugherty, author of The Empire of the DeadLet Us Build Us a City, and The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion





“Kindle & Scorch” in North Dakota Quarterly

“Pinchbelly” in Puerto Del Sol

“Yes, Chemistry” in Loose Change

“A Very Devout Ornamentation” in Paragraphiti

“Charlie’s Kidney”, Winner of the 2015 Psychopomp Magazine Short Fiction Award, judged by Kate Bernheimer, in Psychopomp

“Nor Do They” in Two Serious Ladies

“Recompense” in NewerYork: The Electronic Encyclopedia of Experimental Literature

“A Baby Is a Dreadful Thing” in Cura

“Prayer” in DREGINALD

“Some of Us Had Been Sucking Our Friend Carrie” in Yalobusha Review

“My Husband Leroy” in failbetter

“All of Them Comely” and “A Landlord is an Act” in Your Impossible Voice

“If Mother, Huntress” in Birkensnake

“When Our Bodies” in The Collagist

“Loving Spinster,” Second Place Winner of the 2013 Utah Writers’ Contest, judged by Joanna Ruocco, in Western Humanities Review

“Apology for Brother” in Fringe

“We Act” in PANK

“Bigger” and “Pedaling” in Bluestem

“My House: Welcome: Go Away” in Specter

“The Tea Whale” in elimae

“Fall” in Essays and Fictions

“Dear Sonja” and “Were She Alive” in Sou’wester

“Household” in Cloudbank


"Our Deportment" in The Collagist

“Paruresis” in New Delta Review

“Immaculate Conception” in Grimoire

“Pleasures of the Flesh” in The Spectacle

“Scintilla” in Split Lip Magazine



Image (c) Sarah Evenson 2016





Southern Connecticut State University
February 20, 2019 | 7 pm
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Dig A Pony
March 27, 2019 | 6 pm
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Portland, OR 97214


KGB Bar Red Room
December 20, 2017 | 7 pm
85 E. 4th Street
New York, NY 10003

Spoonbill & Sugartown, Booksellers
December 7, 2017 | 7 pm
99 Montrose Street
Brooklyn, NY 11206

Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Fall Show
October 8, 2017 | 8.30 pm
Red Lion Hotel on the River
909 N. Hayden Island Drive
Portland, OR 97217

Powell's City of Books
October 11, 2017 | 7 pm
1005 W. Burnside Street
Portland, OR 97209

Oregon State University
October 13, 2017 | 7.30 pm
Black Box Theatre
Withycombe Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331

Inklings Bookshop
October 19, 2017 | 7 pm
5629 Summitview Avenue
Yakima, WA 98908

Auntie's Bookstore
October 20, 2017 | 7 pm
402 W. Main Avenue
Spokane, WA 99201



Image (c) Sarah Evenson 2016



Watterson Author Photo


 is left-handed, vegetarian, and of choleric temperament. She gardens in fair weather on a small balcony and makes her home with the novelist Michael Shou-Yung Shum and several feline companions. Her first book, Ventriloquisms, is the winner of the 2016 Spokane Prize for Short Fiction from Willow Springs Books. Its official release date is October 1, 2017.

Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Spectacle, New Delta ReviewNorth Dakota QuarterlyPuerto del Sol, BirkensnakeThe Collagist, and several other venues. Jaclyn holds a PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Utah.  

Contact her at  jaclynwatterson[at]gmail.com