For the rest of 2015, we will highlight each of the Sowell Collection’s founding authors: Barry Lopez, William Kittredge, Annick Smith, David Quammen, and Pattiann Rogers.
Essayist, author, and short story writer, Barry Lopez was born in 1945 in Port Chester, New York; grew-up in southern California and New York City; and attended college in the Midwest. He has lived in rural western Oregon since 1968.
Since leaving graduate school in 1970, Lopez has been a full-time writer. His work often explores the relationship between physical landscape and human culture, and issues of identity, ethics, and intimacy. His writing has appeared in Harper’s, Granta, The Georgia Review, Orion, Outside, The Paris Review, Manoa, and in dozens of anthologies and “best of” collections. His major nonfiction works include Arctic Dreams, for which he received the National Book Award, and Of Wolves and Men, a National Book Award finalist. His most recent books are Home Ground: Language for the American Landscape (2006), a reader’s dictionary of regional landscape terms, and Outside (2014), a collection of six stories with engravings by Barry Moser.
Lopez has received fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the John Burroughs Society, the Orion Society, and other institutions. He travels widely and has collaborated with a number of artists on a variety of projects in theater, music, and the fine arts. He has a long relationship with Texas Tech University and has been a Distinguished Visiting University Scholar. Visit his website, and explore the collection.
William Kittredge was born in 1932 and grew up on a working ranch in the Warner Valley of southeastern Oregon. He graduated from Oregon State University in 1954 and from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa in 1969. He taught in the English Department at the University of Montana from 1969 until his retirement in 1997.
He is the author of numerous essays, short stories and novels, including the Cord series of western novels written under the pseudonym Owen Rountree. His essay collections, Owning it All (1987) and Who Owns the West? (1995), map the emotional terrain of the modern West, pursuing and dismantling the accepted moral code of independence, private ownership and resource exploitation. His first novel, The Willow Field¸ published to wide critical acclaim in 2006.
Kittredge’s awards include a Stegner Fellowship to attend the writing program at Stanford University, two National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowships, two Pacific Northwest Bookseller’s Awards, a National Governor’s Award for the Arts, the PEN West Award, the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Charles Frankle Prize for service to the humanities, and the Neil Simon Award from American Playhouse. Explore the collection.
Born in Paris in 1936 to Hungarian emigres, Annick Smith was raised in Chicago and lived briefly in Seattle. In 1964 Smith moved to Montana, eventually settling on a 163 acre ranch in the Blackfoot River valley. After her husband’s death in 1974, Smith remained on the ranch to raise her sons. She still lives in Montana with her partner William Kittredge.
A filmmaker first, Smith was executive producer for the prize-winning independent film, Heartland (1979) based on the frontier diaries of Wyoming pioneer, Elinore Randall Stewart. She was co-producer, with William Kittredge, for Robert Redford’s film adaptation of Norman MacLean’s novella, A River Runs Through It (1992). She has produced several documentaries including a series about Indian tribes in the Inland Northwest, “The Real People,” for public television, and a portrait of poet Richard Hugo, “Kicking the Loose Gravel Home.” Smith was a founding member of the Sundance Film Institute and the Independent Features Project.
Her writing has appeared in Orion, Outside, Audubon, National Geo Traveler, Travel & Leisure, and the New York Times. Smith’s collection of essays, Homestead, was published by Milkweed Editions in 1995. Her book, Big Bluestem, Journey into the Tall Grass, which won the Oklahoma Book Award for nonfiction and the Denver Public Library’s Bancroft prize for western history, was published by Council Oak Books (Tulsa) and The Nature Conservancy in 1996. Smith’s latest book, Crossing the Plains with Bruno, is forthcoming from Trinity University Press in November 2015. Explore the collection.
Science, nature and travel writer, David Quammen was born in 1948 in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1970 he graduated from Yale where he was a protégé of novelist and poet Robert Penn Warren. He has lived in Montana for the last 40 years.
Quammen began as an unsuccessful writer of spy novels, but by 1981 had switched to nonfiction with his column in Outside magazine. His work has since appeared in Harper’s, National Geographic, Esquire, The Atlantic, Powder, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and the New York Review of Books. His first full-length nonfiction book, The Song of the Dodo (1996) investigated the rate of species extinction in island ecosystems and won the John Burroughs Medal for nature writing. Spillover (2012) was a finalist for seven awards and won two: the Science and Society Book Award, and the Society of Biology (UK) Book Award in General Biology. His most recent books, Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus (2014) and The Chimp and the River: How AIDS Emerged from an African Forest (2015), continue his work on diseases that have spread from non-human animals to humans.
Quammen has received honorary doctorates from Montana State University and Colorado College, a Rhodes scholarship, a Guggenheim fellowship, and a Lannan Literary Award for nonfiction. Other awards include the National Magazine Award and the New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism. Visit his website, and browse the collection.
Pattiann Rogers was born in Joplin, Missouri and graduated from the University of Missouri with a B.A. in Literature and a minor in Zoology in 1961. She received an M.A. in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing from the University of Houston. She has taught at the University of Texas, the University of Montana, the University of Arkansas, Washington University of St. Louis, and Mercer University. She lives in Colorado.
Rogers’s work combines scientific language and concepts with questions of cultural and spiritual values. Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry, Best Spiritual Writing, and in many anthologies and textbooks, including The Prentice Hall Anthology of Women’s Literature, Verse and Universe, Poets of the New Century, The Measured Word (On Poetry and Science), Stand-Up Poetry, The Made Thing, The Discovery of Poetry. Rogers’s latest collection Holy Heathen Rhapsody (2013) won the Helen C. Smith Award for Best Poetry Book of 2013 by the Texas Institute of Letters.
Rogers has received two NEA Grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award in Poetry, and a Lannan Poetry Fellowship. Her poems have been awarded the Tietjens Prize, the Hokin Prize, and the Bock prize from Poetry, the Roethke Prize from Poetry Northwest, the Strousse Award from Prairie Schooner, and five Pushcart Prizes. Visit her website, and explore the collection.