Joe Wilkins is the author of a novel, Fall Back Down When I Die, praised as “remarkable and unforgettable” in a starred review at Booklist and short-listed for the First Novel Award from the Center For Fiction and the Pacific Northwest Book Award. His memoir, The Mountain and the Fathers, won a GLCA Emerging Writers Award, an honor that has previously recognized early work by Alice Munro, Richard Ford, and Louise Erdrich.
Wilkins is also the author of four poetry collections, most recently Thieve and When We Were Birds, winner of the 2017 Oregon Book Award in Poetry, and his work has appeared in a host of the nation’s leading magazines and literary journals, including The Georgia Review, The Southern Review, Harvard Review, Orion, Copper Nickel, TriQuarterly, Ecotone, The Sun, and High Country News. As the winner of the Boyden Wilderness Writing Residency from PEN Northwest, he and his family spent the summer and fall of 2015 living in a remote cabin in the Klamath Mountains along the Rogue River in southwest Oregon.
Wilkins was born and raised on a sheep and hay ranch north of the Bull Mountains of eastern Montana. After graduating from Gonzaga University with a degree in engineering, Wilkins spent two years teaching ninth grade pre-algebra in the Mississippi Delta with Teach For America. He then went on to earn his MFA in creative writing from the University of Idaho, where he worked with the poet Robert Wrigley and the memoirist Kim Barnes.
Wilkins serves on the faculty of Eastern Oregon University’s Low Residency MFA Program, and he has taught at a number of writers festivals and workshops, including the Breadloaf Environmental Writers’ Workshop, Fishtrap, and Orion in the Wilderness.
Wilkins now lives with his family in the foothills of the Coast Range of western Oregon, where he directs the creative program at Linfield College.