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Monday, January 6, 2020

Providing A Conscience With His Words

“My function as a writer is to provide an atmosphere in which people can think wisely about what we're doing on this planet.” – Barry Lopez

Born on this date in 1945, Lopez is the author of 17 books – both fiction and nonfiction – and a noted essayist whose work is known for its humanitarian and environmental concerns. He won the 1986 National Book Award for Nonfiction for Arctic Dreams.  His Of Wolves and Men was a National Book Award finalist.

A native of Port Chester, NY, Lopez grew up in Southern California and then studied writing at Notre Dame, NYU and Oregon before starting a writing and photography career in the mid-1960s.   Described by the San Francisco Chronicle as "the nation's premier nature writer,” he frequently examines the relationship between human culture and the physical landscape. 

Lopez now resides in Oregon, but has been a Visiting Distinguished Scholar at Texas Tech Univesity where that school recently announced it has established an archive of his many works.  His most recent book, Horizon, was published in 2019. 
                  “When I sit at that typewriter,” Lopez said,  “I have to be frightened of what I'm trying to do. I'm frightened by my own belief that I can actually get a story down on paper.”

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