Wigfall grew up in Berkeley, California, before moving back to London, and she began writing at an early age. She was educated at James Allen's Girls' School, and after an early role as assistant and editor to the late President of Mensa, she graduated from the University of Manchester in 1998. She received an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. At age 21, Faber and Faber offered her a book contract, based on reading a single story she had written. She worked on her debut collection for almost a decade.
Wigfall has claimed that music was a large influence on her writing of the debut collection. She mentions such various influences as the Dirty Three, John Fahey, Jolie Holland, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Jefferson Airplane, Cat Power, Bach, Rachel's and Six Organs of Admittance each influencing one of the stories.
In 2008 she won the BBC National Short Story Award for 'The Numbers', one of the stories from her collection. She was also longlisted for the 2008 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award.
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- "BBC - Today". BBC News. 2008-07-10. Retrieved 2017-01-06.
- "Eric Forbes's book addict's guide to good books: ON THE COUCH WITH ... Clare WIGFALL". Goodbooksguide.blogspot.com. 2008-05-18. Retrieved 2017-01-06.