Born and raised in the remote heart of upstate New York, Jon Clinch has been an English teacher, a metalworker, a folksinger, an illustrator, a typeface designer, a housepainter, a copywriter, and an advertising executive.

His first novel, Finn — the secret history of Huckleberry Finn’s father—was named an American Library Association Notable Book and was chosen as one of the year's best books by the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the Christian Science Monitor. It won the Philadelphia Athenaeum Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Sargent First Novel Prize.

His second novel, Kings of the Earth — a powerful tale of life, death, and family in rural America, based on a true story — was named a best book of the year by the Washington Post and led the 2010 Summer Reading List at O, The Oprah Magazine.

In 2008 he organized a benefit for the financially-ailing Mark Twain House and Museum — enlisting authors including Arthur Phillips, Tom Perrotta, and Stewart O’Nan — an event that literally saved the house from bankruptcy.



Jon teaches and lectures widely, in settings as varied as the National Council of Teachers of English, Williams College, Whitman College, and Pennsylvania State University.

In 2010 his novel Finn was the Capital City Reads selection for Jefferson City, Missouri, and in 2015 he visited with students in Duke University's "The Novel: Live" program, who'd studied his work.

Recent events include the University of Northern Colorado's Rosenberry Writers' Conference, the Green Mountain Writer's Conference, and a keynote for a symposium on Mark Twain and Youth at Twain's beloved Quarry Farm.

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