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John Clayton
About John Clayton

John Clayton is an independent author, journalist, and historian based in Montana.  He writes books, articles, and the weekly newsletter Natural Stories.

John's book Natural Rivals: John Muir, Gifford Pinchot, and the Creation of America’s Public Lands was featured in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Review of Books, and on NPR's OnPoint. A previous book, Wonderlandscape: Yellowstone National Park and the Evolution of an American Cultural Icon, was a Montana Book Award honor book and winner of the High Plains Book Award.

John's articles appear regularly in the Montana Quarterly, Big Sky Journal, and dozens of other publications. An earlier book, Stories from Montana's Enduring Frontier, collected John's essays on Montana history. A major previous work, The Cowboy Girl, chronicled the life of Montana/Wyoming novelist, journalist, and homesteader Caroline Lockhart. John's now-out-of-print first book, Small Town Bound, was featured in Time and Harper's magazines and on the Today and Oprah Winfrey shows.

Before he could fully make a living from his own writing, John helped businesses develop books, reports, bylined articles, and case studies, with a recent focus on how and why to reduce carbon. John has taught at Montana State University-Billings and Rocky Mountain College, and served on the advisory board for the Montana Center for the Book. He speaks about public lands, wilderness, John Muir, Yellowstone, Caroline Lockhart, writing, and the West. 

In his spare time John enjoys basketball, hiking, snowshoeing, home-brewing, and of course reading. John graduated from Williams College, and lived in the Boston area before moving west in 1990. He lives in a small town in central Montana with his dog, Chaka Khan.

(Photo by Ted Kim)

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Contact John

For information about John's books, articles, or talks, you can use the email address or (if necessary) phone number at the bottom of the page, subscribe to Natural Stories, or fill out this contact form.

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