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Lavonne Griffin-Valade


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LaVonne Griffin-Valade was born and raised in the high desert country along the John Day River of eastern Oregon. It’s a vast and luminous landscape made up of wind-sculpted fossil beds, pine and juniper forests, grasslands, indigo mountains, and river-fed valleys—a place that stoked her imagination and inspired her to become a lifetime writer of short stories, essays, poetry, and novels.

LaVonne has carried her love of language, story, and imagery wherever life has taken her, whether it was the eastern Oregon high desert, the islands of Saipan, Guam, and American Samoa, Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, New York, Washington D.C., or western Oregon’s green, lush Willamette Valley. She has participated in dozens of classes and workshops offered by fiction writers, poets, memoirists, and essayists including John Beer, David Biespiel, Emily Chenoweth, Paul Collins, Martha Gies, Karen Karbo, Nam Le, Michael McGregor, Tom Spanbauer, Kim Stafford, Lidia Yuknavitch, and Leni Zumas.

Along the way LaVonne earned a Bachelor’s degree in Humanities (English/writing focus) from Western Oregon State University and was an elementary school teacher for a time. Switching gears, she worked with homeless and runaway youth for several years connecting them with shelter and providing life skills training. She went on to earn a Masters of Public Administration from Portland State University while working for the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory in Portland, Oregon where she trained educators in educational equity and penned various professional articles.

In her penultimate career change, LaVonne became a government performance auditor in the Multnomah County Auditor’s Office in Portland, first as a staff auditor for eight years and then as the elected Multnomah County Auditor. She then ended her long auditing career as the elected Auditor of the City of Portland. After leaving office, she pursued an MFA in fiction writing from Portland State University and graduated in 2017.

LaVonne’s personal essays have appeared in Oregon Humanities Magazine, and her short story “Eureka” was published in the 2019 Clackamas Literary Review. Based on an excerpt of DEAD POINT, she was a finalist for the 2018 Fellowship for Emerging Writers at Fishtrap’s Writing and the West.

LaVonne lives in Portland, Oregon and works as a fulltime writer.
 

Genres: Mystery