Diana Wagman

In Wyoming. The orange vest is because writing is dangerous work.


I am the author of four novels and numerous short stories, essays and reviews. I am an occasional contributor to the Los Angeles Times. My second novel, Spontaneous, won the 2001 USA PEN West Award for Fiction. I wrote the original screenplay for DELIVERING MILO directed by Nick Castle and starring Bridget Fonda and Albert Finney.

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Here's the cover of my latest novel:

beautiful cover by Thomas Ng

Available everywhere. Ebook and Audible. Great reviews from The New York Times, The LA Times, and The Wall Street Journal.

From Kirkus: "Wagman is perfectly at home along the tortuous freeways and hidden arroyos of L.A.; a bonus of her insightful character study is a tour of the strange world of reptile trading, with the villain of the piece keeping his house jungly hot for the benefit of an iguana..."

The only thing my fabulous editors and I disagreed about was this tiny section -- from the Iguana's POV. It didn't make it into the book, but you can read it and tell me what you think:

"Cookie scratched at the wooden door. He scraped and tore with his curved, sharp claws. He pumped up and down on his short legs. His tail swished against the floor. He was angry, and worse than angry, he was frustrated. He was tired of that man. That man was not what he needed. He wanted her. He craved her. It was not his fault. It was that time in his life. His skin had rusted, turned from green to dark orange, to attract a female. Of course an iguana would be best. Only there weren’t any in this awful room where he was kept and Winnie smelled good. She smelled like just what he needed. From his wide set eyes, he could only see parts of her. To him, she was two, smooth saplings with a wonderful odor between. She taunted him, teased him when she ran away and fell with her legs spread just outside that door. The scent of her was enough to drive him crazy. He’d had her. For a moment, he had. He had climbed on top of her, held on with his claws in her soft belly. If he could have wrapped his tail around her and gotten his teeth in her neck to hold her still, he would have been successful. He had two sex organs after all, one on each side of his tail. If one hemipenis didn’t work, the other would. If only he had been given the chance. But that man helped her run away.
He banged his nose against the door. Again. Again. He scratched. And scratched. He had to get out of there, he knew the jungle, he knew paradise, was waiting just outside."

Selected Work

A car accident, a cop, and a bride-to-be.
Two sisters, a handyman, unrequited love and spontaneous human combustion.
Wanted: woman to talk to. 3 nights a week. 300 dollars a night.
The Five Elements of Noir
Black Clock Literary Journal, volume 10
Three Legged Dog
Electric Literature, volume 1