Best Nevada Author

Claire Vaye Watkins


In 1872, Mark Twain published Roughing It, a memoir of his travels through the Wild West, including the Nevada Territory. More than 140 years later, we finally get an update on the still (mostly) untamed land and its people. The 10 short stories in Battleborn (Riverhead, $26)—the debut collection by Pahrump-raised author Claire Vaye Watkins—give dimension to characters that the rest of the world sees only as stereotypes, if it sees them at all. In turn, the world has taken notice. The 28-year-old has already won two awards (Rosenthal Family Foundation Award and the Story Prize) and garnered accolades from national media (Vogue, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times and The New Yorker have taken notice). Best of all, the assistant professor at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania is at the beginning of her career, so we have a lot to look forward to. Upcoming projects include a novel about water shortages in the Southwest and a free creative writing camp for Pahrump teens called the Mojave School.

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Jason Strauss


Jason Strauss

The tastemaker and nightlife impresario is a partner of Tao Group, a leading restaurant and nightlife company that develops, owns and operates numerous high-profile food and beverage facilities nationwide, including Tao, Lavo and Marquee. Along with his partners, Strauss was named Hospitality Operator of the Year by Nightclub & Bar in 2006, and their work with Marquee has been profiled as a case study by Harvard Business School.