Amanda Coplin is really a Pacific Northwest writer--she was born in Washington state, earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Portland and now lives in Portland. But her MFA is from the University of Minnesota, where she studied under Charles Baxter and others, and her career since graduation has been remarkable. Her first novel, "The Orchardist" (yes, yes, set in the Pacific Northwest) was a New York Times best-seller, garnered wide critical praise (including this review in the Star Tribune), was named a Barnes & Noble Discover Awards finalist, and made several best-of-the-year lists (including the Washington Post).
And now, more accolades: shortly after winning the Washington State Book Award for fiction (the nonfiction award went to Timothy Egan for "Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher"), Coplin was named one of the National Book Foundation's "Five under 35." (The other four: Molly Antopol, NoViolet Bulawayo, currently on the Man Booker Prize short list, Daisy Hildyard and Merritt Tierce.)
Each of the five was chosen by a previous National Book Award winner. And who chose Coplin? Why, Louise Erdrich, of course. Definitely not from the Pacific Northwest.