Headshot of Shaun Griffin

Shaun Griffin

2014 Nevada Writers Hall of Fame Inductee, 1998 Silver Pen Awardee


Shaun Griffin’s soulful poetry and engagement with Nevada communities make him one of the state’s most well-loved literary figures. He is the author of This is What the Desert Surrenders, Bathing in the River of Ashes and Woodsmoke, Wind and the Peregrine, among others. Recurring themes in his poetry are "... family, landscape and work for justice in the larger world." Griffin’s editing also adds to his literary legacy, specifically his editing of Torn By Light, poems by Joanne de Longchamps. Likewise, his translations of Emma Sepulveda’s poems have allowed her work to be enjoyed by an increasingly wider audience. Both de Longchamps and Sepulveda are members of the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. From Griffin: “I believe poetry has a central role in our lives – if we slow down and find the one poem that excites us. From there on, it is like returning to a fountain for fresh water. We can be a culture of poetry readers…if we listen for the voice lying dormant on the shelves.” In the early 1980s, he began offering creative writing workshops for prisoners at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center. He is the editor of Razor Wire, an annual poetry journal, that grew from that effort. Griffin received the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts in 1995 and was awarded the Silver Pen as an “author of promise” from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame in 1998. He is the co-founder and executive director of Community Chest, Inc., a rural and social justice agency serving northwestern Nevada since 1991, and is also the director of the Homeless Youth Education Office. In 2004 he served on the Nevada Arts Council and is a member of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. In 2008 he served as judge for the Neltje Blanchan Memorial Award and the Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. He lives in Virginia City, Nevada, mentors a writing class at the Nevada State Prison, periodically teaches other creative writing classes and poetry workshops, and is also a watercolorist.