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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

    Praise for There There

    When Tommy Orange first sent me a chapter of his novel, There There, I read it and marveled. I then read it aloud to my wife. And then I emailed and called my closest writer friends. I said, ‘It’s here. That book I’ve been waiting for. It has arrived.’ Tommy Orange has indeed arrived. And his debut novel is a beautiful, dangerous, sad, poetic, and hilarious revelation. Set in Oakland, California, There There is truly the first book to capture what it means to be an urban Indian—perhaps the first novel ever to celebrate and honor and elevate the joys and losses of urban Indians. You might think I’m exaggerating but this book is so revolutionary—evolutionary—that Native American literature will never be the same.

    Sherman Alexie

    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

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  • 212 572-2013
  • Tommy Orange travels from California

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