Kirstin Valdez Quade: Biography

Kirstin Valdez Quade

Kirstin Valdez Quade is an American short story writer whose work has been featured in The New Yorker, Narrative, The Best American Short Stories, and the O. Henry Prize Stories, among other places. Her collection, Night at the Fiestas (Norton, 2015), received a 2014 National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Award. Valdez Quade was also a 2013 winner of the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award. Her story “Nemecia” won first place in the Narrative Story Contest (Spring 2012) and the 2013 Narrative Prize.

Valdez Quade has strong New Mexican roots, and her family’s presence there can be traced back to the time of the earliest conquistadors. She attended Stanford University, where she earned a BA and later became a Wallace Stegnar Fellow.

Drawing upon the history of New Mexico for much of her work, Valdez Quade considers it to be a complex place. Her characters have troubled hearts but her stories are hopeful. In them, Valdez Quade explores themes of race, class, and coming of age. For example, in her story “The Manzanos,” a young girl’s fear of “el ojo” (the evil eye) is at the root or her entire family’s history of abandonment.

Currently an assistant professor at Princeton University, Valdez Quade was the Nicholas Delbanco Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan in 2014-2015. She taught as a Jones Lecturer at Stanford University, where she was a Wallace Stegnar and Truman Capote Fellow. Valdez Quade has received a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation and fellowships from Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony.