Claire Polders is a Dutch author of fiction and nonfiction. Her latest of five books is A Whale in Paris (Atheneum, Simon & Schuster), a historical novel for younger readers. Her short prose has been widely published in literary journals, including TriQuarterly, Prairie SchoonerTin House, Electric Literature, Denver Quarterly, and Fiction International. She’s currently finishing a memoir about elder abuse in Florida and revising a multi-generational novel about the dark Dutch colonial past. Her flash fiction collection “Woman of the Hour” is forthcoming from Vine Leaves Press in 2025.

—> Read, listen to, or watch interviews with Claire Polders.



I’m a storyteller of tales long and short. I’ve written four novels for adults in Dutch (my mother tongue), co-authored one novel for younger readers with my husband (A Whale in Paris), wrote hundreds of blog posts on traveling and the writing life, and had my short stories, personal essays, and flash fictions published in international literary magazines in print and online.

TriQuarterlyDenver Quarterly, matchbook, jmww, Blink Ink, and The Mambo Academy of Kitty Wang nominated my stories for Pushcart Prizes. My writing was twice selected for The Best Microfiction anthology, appeared on the Wigleaf Top 50, and was chosen thrice for the National Flash Fiction Anthology. Stories were also nominated for Best of the Net and The Best Small Fictions anthology.

Recurrent themes in my writing are identity, feminism, social justice, traveling, art, and death. My stories often include absurd or fantastic elements that transform the otherwise realistic settings into strange worlds. You can learn more about my creative process by reading some interviews or by listening to my podcast (I intent to make more). Occasionally, I write about books I love on my site, which makes them more like reading recommendations. Follow me on Goodreads or sign up for my newsletter to see what else I read.

In my essay in Past Ten, I explain how I came to write in English and how vulnerable that made me feel at first.

In the blog post “What’s in a Name,” you can learn more about the origins of my Dutch name.

My book-length work is represented by Marie Lamba.

—> Read, listen to, or watch interviews with Claire Polders.


Born in Gouda (yes, from the cheese), I grew up along a river dike near Rotterdam, seven meters below sea level. I hold a double Master’s Degree in Literature and Philosophy (with honors) from Tilburg University, and studied a semester at the Sorbonne. I’m married to the American screenwriter / musician / record producer / author Daniel Presley, which sometimes makes me feel I married America.

In March 2019, after living in Paris for almost 20 years, we sold our belongings and became writing nomads to travel the world and attend artists residencies. Then the pandemic happened and life on the road became more challenging. We have no idea where our homeless adventure will take us next, but we’re curious. Please sign up for my newsletter if you’d like to come along or read some of my older posts on my travel blog.


I’m available for author events in person and online. I’ve taught creative writing classes for adults and young adults on Flash Fiction, Historical Fiction, Revision, Submission Strategies, and more. I’ve given presentations and workshops at libraries and international schools in Brussels, Marrakesh, and Siem Reap. Other author events include readings, lectures, debates, and appearances on festivals, conferences, and retreats. Please contact me to discuss possibilities and schedule an event.

I also provide all sorts of services for writers, including manuscript consulting, editing, query letter critiques, and coaching. Please visit my For Writers page to learn more.