By Matthew Rice
Lakes Region residents will have two chances to hear from a nationally acclaimed nature writer at Green Mountain College at the end of the month.
Author Rick Bass will read from his nature works on Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 12:30 p.m. in the Griswold Library at Green Mountain College.
The author of more than 25 books, Rick Bass’ fiction and non-fiction has received numerous awards including O. Henry Awards and Pushcart Prizes.
The New York Times Book Review calls Bass, “One of this country’s most intelligent and sensitive short story writers.”
In the evening, Bass will speak regarding his 2010 work. Both events are free and open to the public.
Bass will discuss his book, ‘Heart of the Monster: Why the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies Must Not Become an ExxonMobil Conduit to the Alberta Tar Sands’ at 6 p.m. in the Gorge at Withey Hall at Green Mountain College. The 2010 book was co-authored by David James Duncan.
“People who care about the proposed ExxonMobile pipeline from the Alberta tar sands would be interested in the evening lecture, and those who care about literature — especially nature writing — would be interested in a public reading by a well-known author,” Assistant Professor of History and Religious Studies Mary Jane Maxwell said.
The 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline would carry oil from tar sands in western Canada to refineries in Texas, passing through several states including Bass’ home state of Montana.
In preparation for the project, oil companies are transporting massive mining equipment through Montana on narrow roads that run through vulnerable wilderness areas according to Bass’ book. Concerned about the environmental damage, Bass and his co-author Duncan postponed other writing projects to write the book.
In a Northwest Book Lovers interview Bass said: “The book was a steep learning curve for me. I had to shift from my long-time efforts to help protect wilderness areas in a little million-acre valley in Northwest Montana—the Yaak —to a story with global implications. The Heart of the Monster isn’t just about Idaho and Montana. It’s about corporate power in America, about salmon and grizzlies and species extinction . . . it’s a story that pits irreversible global warming versus the integrity of wilderness.”
Bass has published and edited over 25 books, including nonfiction, essays, short stories and novels.
He was born in Fort Worth, Texas, the son of a geologist. Bass received a B.S. in geology at Utah State University and started writing short stories on his lunch breaks while working as a petroleum geologist in Mississippi.
In 1987, he moved with his wife, the artist Elizabeth Hughes, to the remote Yaak Valley in Montana where he has since worked to protect Montana’s wilderness areas from development and logging interests.
The recipient of grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts as well as a Lyndhurst Foundation fellowship and his fiction has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories as well as numerous journals and magazines.
Bass was the speaker for Green Mountain College’s fourth annual Thomas L. Benson Lecture on April 20.