Catherynne M. Valente was born on Cinco de Mayo, 1979 in Seattle, WA, but grew up in in the wheatgrass paradise of Northern California. She has three brothers and a sister. She graduated from high school at age 15, going on to UC San Diego and Edinburgh University, receiving her B.A. in Classics with an emphasis in Ancient Greek Linguistics. She then drifted away from her M.A. program and into a long residence in the concrete and camphor wilds of Japan.
She currently lives on a small island off the coast of Maine, with her partner, two dogs, and one recalcitrant cat, having tumbled back to America and the otherworldly New England coast.
Her poetry and short fiction can be found online and in print in such journals as The Pedestal Magazine, Fantastic Metropolis, The Journal of Mythic Arts, Clarkesworld Magazine, Jabberwocky, Mythic Delirium, Lone Star Stories, Fantasy Magazine, Electric Velocipede, Cabinet des Fees, and Star*Line, and anthologies such as Interfictions, The Book of Voices, Salon Fantastique, The Minotaur in Pamplona, Paper Cities, Clockwork Phoenix, and featured in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror #18 and #21. She received a Special Commendation for Service in the Arts from California State University in 2003. Her story Urchins, While Swimming, received the Million Writers Award for best online short fiction in 2006. Her poem The Seven Devils of Central California won the Rhysling Award in 2008. Her poem The Dance of Uzume-no-Ama and her short story Bones Like Black Sugar have also been shortlisted for the Spectrum Award. Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize a total of nine times. Her critical series on feminine archetypes in Greek and Roman drama has appeared in successive issues of the International Journal of the Humanities.
Her first chapbook, Music of a Proto-Suicide, was released in the winter of 2004. Her first novel, The Labyrinth, was published by Prime Books in 2004, and her second, Yume no Hon: The Book of Dreams, was released in the summer of 2005. Her third novel, The Grass-Cutting Sword, came out in the summer of 2006. Under the Aegis imprint, Prime has also published two collections of her poetry, Apocrypha, and Oracles. Her third volume of poetry, The Descent of Inanna, was published by Papaveria Press early in 2006.
Her fourth major project, a duology of original fairy tales, The Orphan's Tales, was released from Bantam Spectra in the fall of 2006. Volume I, In the Night Garden, went on to win the James Tiptree Jr. Award for the expansion of gender and sexuality in speculative fiction, and has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award. Volume II, I n the Cities of Coin and Spice, came out in the fall of 2007. As a whole, the series won the Mythopoeic Award for adult literature in 2008.
Her next novel, a baroque urban fantasy titled Palimpsest was released from Bantam Spectra in February 2009.
Her first short story collection, Ventriloquism, will be released by PS Publishing in late 2010.
The latest project that she's working on, a novel retelling of the Russian fairy tales of Marya Morevna and Koschei the Deathless set in Stalinist Russia, will be released from Tor in 2011.