Willy Vlautin was born and raised in Reno, Nevada. He started playing guitar and writing songs as a teenager and quickly became immersed in music. It was a Paul Kelly song, based on Raymond Carver’s “Too Much Water So Close to Home” that inspired him to start writing stories. Vlautin has published four novels: The Motel Life (2007–NYT Editor’s choice and notable book, made into a major motion picture starring Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsh, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson), Northline (2008), Lean on Pete (2010-Winner of the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction, short-listed for the IMPAC award), and The Free (2014-Winner of the Oregon People’s Choice Award).
Vlautin founded the band Richmond Fontaine in 1994. The band has produced nine studio albums to date, plus a handful of live recordings and EPs. Driven by Vlautin’s dark, story-like songwriting, the band has achieved critical acclaim at home and across Europe. 2014 saw the debut of Vlautin’s new band, The Delines, featuring vocalist Amy Boone (The Damnations). Their album, Colfax received rave reviews from across Europe and the United States.
Vlautin currently resides in Scappoose, Oregon.