John Larison was born in 1979 in Oregon. The son of National Geographic filmmakers, much of his childhood was spent traveling, often staying in remote tropical or mountainous regions. He attended the University of Oregon and studied philosophy and literature, and stayed to earn a Master’s of Education. For several years, he worked as a fly-fishing guide and high school English teacher, writing fiction in the evenings. In 2005, he left both jobs to earn a MFA at Oregon State University.
To piece together a living in the years following, Larison worked as a freelance writer for outdoor magazines, an adjunct writing instructor, and a fly-fishing guide, specializing in running small boats through heavy whitewater. He was always writing fiction.
His first book was a how-to text on fly-fishing, The Complete Steelheader (Stackpole 2008). He went on to publish two fishing related novels Northwest of Normal (Barclay Creek 2009) and Holding Lies (Skyhorse 2011); in late 2009, he began work on the novel that would become Whiskey When We’re Dry (Viking 2018).
Larison lives with his family in Oregon’s Coast Range mountains, where he is at work on his next novel.