Who is Matt Briggs?About
Matt Briggs’ books, particularly The Remains of River Names and the novel Shoot the Buffalo, are to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest what Steinbeck’s Cannery Row and Grapes of Wrath were to the Salinas Valley and Monterey, or William Faulkner’s best work to New Orleans. Briggs has the language, cadence, and rain-shrouded soul of the Northwest honed to perfection in his candid and haunting style. He is a brilliant contemporary practitioner of an ancient art, that of summoning the essence of place in prose. His stories are as fluid as the moist environment that birthed them.
— Raymond Mungo, author of Total Loss Farm and Famous Long Ago
Matt Briggs was born in Seattle in 1970 and grew up in the Snoqualmie Valley. He was raised by working-class hippies. His work has been influenced by growing in the margin between the wilderness of the Central Cascades and Seattle, between back-to-the-land lifestyle and the realities of blue-collar work.
While working as a word processor in Seattle in 1999, Briggs won a fellowship to study fiction at The Writing Seminar at Johns Hopkins University. In Baltimore, he studied with Stephen Dixon. He returned to Seattle to work in the tech industry as a technical writer, a fiction reader for The Raven Chronicles, and served a writer-in-residence at Richard Hugo House (2003-2005).
Briggs has published eight books with regional small presses since 1999.
Of his first book The Remains of River Names, The New York Times Book Review wrote: “Briggs has captured the America that neither progressives nor family-value advocates want to think about, where bohemianism has degenerated into dangerous dropping out.”
His novel, Shoot the Buffalo, was nominated for a Washington State Book Award and won the 2006 American Book Award. Briggs has published short print run work with Spokane’s StringTown Press, Astoria Oregon’s Clear Cut Press, and Portland’s Publication Studio.