Author and Activist Rick Bass to Speak at MHC

Noted novelist, nature writer, and environmental activist Rick Bass will speak about and read from some of his best-selling works on Thursday, February 17, in Clapp Laboratory at 7:30 pm.

“We have touched, and are consuming, everything,” says Bass. “The world is very old, and we are so new. I like the feeling of awe—what the late writer Wallace Stegner called ‘the birth of awe’—in beholding wild country not reduced by man.”

“I like to remember that it is wild country that gives rise to wild animals; and that the marvelous specificity of wild animals reminds us to wake up, to let our senses be inflamed by every scent and sound and sight and taste and touch of the world,” he continues. “I like to remember that we are not here forever, and not here alone, and that the respect with which we behold the wild world matters, if anything does.”

Bass has written more than 20 books. His first short story collection, The Watch (1994), won the PEN/Nelson Algren Award, and his 2002 collection, The Hermit’s Story (2002), was a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. Bass’s stories have also been awarded the Pushcart Prize and the O. Henry Award and have been collected in The Best American Short Stories. His books also include Where the Sea Used to Be (1998), Colter: The True Story of the Best Dog I Ever Had (2000), and The Sky, the Stars, the Wilderness (1997). His most recent work, Why I Came West (2009), was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award.

“Bass has earned a reputation as a passionate, poetic advocate for sound environmental stewardship,” Jeff Turrentine wrote in the New York Times. “[He is] adept at capturing people during those moments when they first realize they are indeed component parts of complex organic systems: parts of nature.”

This event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Miller Worley Center for the Environment, the Environmental Studies Program, the Department of English, and the Odyssey Bookshop. For more information, please contact the Miller Worley Center at 413-538-3091.

Listen to a radio interview with Bass