Add speakerRemove speakerSpeaker added

Tommy Orange

Novelist and author of There There

  • About Tommy Orange

    Tommy Orange’s There There is an exceptional debut novel that grapples with the history of a nation while showcasing a side of America few of us have ever seen. After noticing a lack of stories about urban Native Americans, Orange created a remarkable work that explores those who have inherited a profound spirituality, but who are also plagued by addiction, abuse, and suicide. There There tells the story of twelve characters who each have private reasons for travelling to the Big Oakland Powwow, and who come together after a brutal act of violence. Pam Houston praised the book, saying “This is Tommy Orange. Remember his name. His book’s gonna blow the roof off.”

    A brilliant new writer at the start of a major career, Orange talks about his craft, the writing process, and Native American history and culture, often with meticulously researched visual presentations. In his 2017 opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times, “Thanksgiving is a tradition. It’s also a lie,” he confronted the violent past of the American holiday, asking readers to challenge their traditions. He is a 2014 MacDowell Fellow and a 2016 Writing by Writers Fellow, as well as a recent graduate from the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Tommy Orange is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, and was born and raised in Oakland, California. He now lives in Angels Camp, California, with his wife and son.

  • Speaking Topics

    A Conversation with Tommy Orange

    In his talks, Tommy Orange delves into his writing process, including the themes of Native American culture and history that permeate his works. A thoughtful, measured speaker, he often incorporates powerful visuals in his workshops on the writing craft.

  • Video

  • Praise for Tommy Orange


    Tommy was amazing and wonderful to work with. We were grateful for the opportunity to connect and share in community with him. Our participants loved him!

    National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education

    Tommy’s events went very well! I loved being able to meet him and get to know him a bit; he’s so humble and down to earth, which of course is not always the case with authors who have gotten catapulted into such recent fame like Tommy has! His conversation on stage was great; the audience loved how honest and real he was. And his visit to the school was fantastic too!

    Get Lit! Programs

    The Tommy Orange event went wonderfully and was really well received. On a personal note, Tommy was such a pleasure to work with. He’s such a warm, approachable, and down-to-earth person who creates an inclusive and welcoming environment. He’s a tremendous human being or, as I’ve been describing him, ‘just a good dude.’

    North Idaho College

    I heard yesterday and today how madly enthused our students were and ready to discuss both his work and him today in class.  One quotation:  ‘He’s my hero.’ He was gracious, friendly, and so kind to our students—who mostly do not arrive at events like this expecting to be treated with the respect and attention Tommy paid them.

    Metropolitan State University

    We absolutely loved having Tommy at Inly. He was extremely well received. He was thought provoking, honest and authentic. Truly very warm and real. Everyone wished the event could have lasted longer!

    Inly School

    [The event] was perfect.  Tommy was so authentic and amazing – everything really just felt familiar and comfortable. We’re all in awe of his work, and it was perfect for both students and faculty (and administrators). We wish Tommy the absolute best and hope he can return. On a personal note, it was really an honor to meet him and hear more of his story.

    St. John’s University

    Praise for There There

    A gripping deep dive into urban indigenous community in California: an astonishing literary debut!

    Margaret Atwood

    There Theredrops on us like a thundercap; the big, booming, explosive sound of 21st century literature finally announcing itself. Essential.

    Marlon James

    There There is a miraculous achievement, a book that wields ferocious honesty and originality in service of telling a story that needs to be told. This is a novel about what it means to inhabit a land both yours and stolen from you, to simultaneously contend with the weight of belonging and unbelonging. There is an organic power to this book – a revelatory, controlled chaos. Tommy Orange writes the way a storm makes landfall.

    Omar El Akkad, author of American War

    This is Tommy Orange. Remember his name. His book’s gonna blow the roof off.

    Pam Houston

    There, There is an urgent, invigorating, absolutely vital book by a novelist with more raw virtuosic talent than any young writer I’ve come across in a long, long time. Maybe ever. Tommy Orange is a stylist with substance, a showboater with a deeply moral compass. I want to call him heir to Gertrude Stein by way of George Saunders, but he is even more original than that. This book will make your heart swell.

    Claire Vaye Watkins
  • Books by Tommy Orange

  • Media About Tommy Orange

Request Fees
and Availability

  • 212 572-2013
  • Tommy Orange travels from California

Similar Speakers

Colson Whitehead

Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author of The Underground Railroad

Yaa Gyasi

Debut novelist of Homegoing and recipient of the National Book Foundation's 'Under 35' award

David Treuer

Author of The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee and Rez Life