Hoffman was born in Iowa City, Iowa, and from kindergarten through high school was raised in Fairfield, Iowa, where her divorced mother was part of the Transcendental Meditation movement. She attended Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment. She has a master's degree in Religious Studies from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a master's degree from the Columbia School of Journalism.
While working for the Los Angeles Times, she profiled the founder of Girls Gone Wild, Joe Francis, in a story titled “Baby Give Me a Kiss”. The piece recounts Francis' battery upon Hoffman as well as his alleged rape of an 18-year-old girl. The story is the most viewed piece on latimes.com.
In 2016 she published her first book, Greetings from Utopia Park: Surviving a Transcendent Childhood, a memoir based on her experiences growing up in the Transcendental Meditation movement in Fairfield, Iowa.
- Ucr: department of creative writing. (n.d.). Retrieved from "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-06-16. Retrieved 2010-03-03.
- Palmer, B. (n.d.). Brian m. palmer | claire hoffman interview. Retrieved from "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-11-20. Retrieved 2010-12-06.
- "Joe Francis: 'Baby, give me a kiss'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
- Claire Hoffman, Benjamin Goldhirsh. (2009, August 28). The New York Times, Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/30/fashion/weddings/30HOFFMAN.html
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