Rebecca Clarren Reading

Rebecca Clarren Reading

Friday, 2pm, Paonia Library

Award-winning journalist Rebecca Clarren has been writing about the rural West for nearly twenty years. She lived in Paonia and covered environmental topics for High Country News. Drawing anecdotally from her Western Colorado reporting days, Clarren’s debut novel KICKDOWN is set in Silt with two sisters struggling to identify and preserve their family’s ranching history.


In the novel, oil and gas developers are leasing mineral rights from many neighboring ranches, and Jackie and Susan Dunbar have to decide how to carry forward their father’s legacy after his passing. Ray Stark, their childhood friend, is grappling with the trauma of his tours in Iraq. He steps in to help the Dunbars work the ranch in an attempt to make peace with his own past.


This book is a timeless and timely meditation on the grief wrought by death, war, and environmental destruction. From two decades spent researching and reporting on the gas and oil industries in the West, Clarren weaves together the threads of land, family, failure, and perseverance to create a gritty tale about rural America. She’s extremely excited to read from and discuss KICKDOWN as part of this year’s Mountain Harvest Festival.


“Becca Clarren’s book is deep, true, achingly pure, as stripped of glamor and pretense as the beautiful desolation it describes. With an unflinching eye for the unsettling political and environmental issues of our time, Clarren captures perfectly the heartland of our country and the hearts of those whose old answers have suddenly failed them–they are all strangers to themselves, full of wonder and worry, wild impulses, inarticulate feelings. Kickdown is what life sounds like when we give up the search for who we thought we were supposed to be, and begin the search for our own true humanity.” — Karen Fisher, author of A Sudden Country


“Exquisitely written, Rebecca Clarren’s novel reminds you of the power of fiction—the way it can engage with contemporary politics, and still remain, at its heart, an imaginative art form. The prose is beautiful; the ideas are unflinching; the narrative throughline will propel you forward unstoppably. Clarren’s great talent, though, is engagement with character. You care about these people and, through caring, you are transformed. A brilliant book.” — Pauls Toutonghi, author of Evel Knievel Days and Dog, Gone Rebecca Clarren’s Kickdown is a worthy companion to our best Western novels. Its characters live and breathe, and the land and their work on the land remain at the center of this fine first novel. Most impressive are Clarren’s descriptions of the unrelenting work that makes western ranches the most beautiful of man-made landscapes. — Ed Marston, former publisher, High Country News


For publicity inquiries, email Heather Brown,

Rebecca is represented by Lisa Bankoff at Bankoff Collaborative,

Contact Rebecca personally at