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2019 Fall Break Camps at Tracy Aviary

October 1, 2019 @ 6:00 am

Join us for a celebration and panel discussion on the late author Ellen Meloy and her posthumously published book of essays, Seasons: Desert Essays. Moderator Jeff McCarthy and authors Ann Walka and Karin Anderson will explore Ellen’s impact on the next generation of nature writers, with live readings by current Environmental Humanities graduate students. Join in the conversation on how Meloy’s work endures and is affecting a new generation of nature writers’ outlook and style.

The late writer and naturalist Ellen Meloy used to travel from her red rock home of Bluff, Utah, to the Salt Lake City studios of KUER (NPR Utah) every few months. There, she’d read an essay or two for KUER’s Friday Edition. With understated humor and sharp insight, Meloy would illuminate facets of human connection to nature and challenge listeners to examine the world anew. Seasons: Desert Sketches is a compilation of these radio essays, transcribed from their original cassette tape recordings. Whether Meloy is pondering geese in Desolation Canyon or people at the local post office, readers will delight in her signature wit and charm—and feel the pull of the desert she loves and defends.

Ellen Meloy was a native of the West and lived in California, Montana, and Utah. Her book The Anthropology of Turquoise (2002) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and won the Utah Book Award and the Banff Mountain Book Festival Award in the adventure and travel category. She is also the author of Raven’s Exile: A Season on the Green River (1994), The Last Cheater’s Waltz: Beauty and Violence in the Desert Southwest (2001), and Eating Stone: Imagination and the Loss of the Wild (2005), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Meloy spent most of her life in wild, remote places; at the time of her sudden death in November 2004 (three months after completing Eating Stone), she and her husband were living in southern Utah.

Jeffrey Mathes McCarthy, Ph.D., is director of Environmental Humanities at the University of Utah.

Poet and naturalist Ann Weiler Walka worked for decades as a museum educator and back country guide. She moved to Bluff at the same time as Mark and Ellen Meloy, and for nearly 10 years Ann hiked and floated, gossiped and philosophized, talked writing and taught writing with Ellen. Ellen will always be a beloved companion on Ann’s explorations of landscapes of the imagination.

Karin Anderson is a gardener, writer, mother, wanderer, heretic, and English professor at Utah Valley University. She hails from the Great Basin of Utah.

This free event is presented by Ken Sanders Rare Books, U of U Environmental Humanities, and Torrey House Press. It is supported in part by Utah Humanities; Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts & Parks; and Utah Division of Arts and Museums, with funding from the state of Utah and the National Endowment for the Arts.


October 1, 2019
6:00 am