Opening Plenary, Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Essayist and Nature Writer
We are honored to have such a distinguished guest speak at Rally.
Barry Lopez, essayist and nature writer, is best known as the author of Arctic Dreams, for which he received the National Book Award. To read Barry Lopez is to commune with a deep thinker. His writings have frequently been compared to those of Henry David Thoreau, as he brings a depth of erudition to the text by immersing himself in his surroundings, deftly integrating his environmental and humanitarian concerns. In his nonfiction, he often examines the relationship between human culture and physical landscape. In his fiction, he frequently addresses issues of intimacy, ethics, and identity.
Once a landscape photographer, Barry Lopez continues to maintain close contact with a diverse community of artists. He is on the advisory board of Theater Grottesco in Santa Fe. He has collaborated with composer John Luther Adams on several concert and theater productions and spoken at openings for sculptor Michael Singer and photographer Robert Adams. In another arena of work, he recently collaborated with E. O. Wilson in the design of a university curriculum that combines the sciences and humanities in a new undergraduate major.
Among his other nonfiction books are About This Life, and Of Wolves and Men, which was a National Book Award finalist. He is also the author of several award-winning works of fiction, including Field Notes, Winter Count, and a novella-length fable, Crow and Weasel. His recent work includes Light Action in the Caribbean, a collection of stories, and Resistance (2004), a book of interrelated stories—Lopez’s eloquent response to the recent ideological changes in American society. He is also the co-editor with Debra Gwartney of Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape, a landmark work of language, geography, and folklore. His books, along with his magazine work, reflect a life of travel and cultural inquiry that has taken him to nearly seventy countries.
Barry Lopez has received numerous awards and prizes, including the Honorary Geographer 2011 Award from the Association of American Geographers (past recipients have been Barbara Kingsolver, Paul Krugman, and John McPhee), as well as the Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the John Burroughs and John Hay Medals, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, five National Science Foundation Fellowships, and a Lannan Foundation Fellowship, as well as Pushcart Prizes in fiction and nonfiction. He has written for high profile publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, The American Scholar, The Paris Review, Orion, Outside, and National Geographic among others. He lives in rural Western Oregon.
“Arguably the nation’s premier nature writer.”
— San Francisco Chronicle
Photo by David Liittschwager