Elk River Arts & Lectures 2017 fall series will open with a lecture by a giant in American literature, the award-winning, best-selling author and filmmaker Gretel Ehrlich at 5:30 pm on Thursday, Oct. 5.
Ehrlich has written more than 15 books that span genres; her efforts encompass journalism and essay, memoir and poetry, fiction and film. Her account of being incapacitated by a lightning strike, A Match to the Heart, was a New York Times bestseller.
Her work has been widely recognized with a range of honors, including the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for her book of essays on life in rural Wyoming, The Solace of Open Spaces. New England PEN gave her the Henry David Thoreau Award for Nature Writing for This Cold Heaven, an account of her years of travel in Greenland in the context of that icy land’s culture and history. She’s also received awards from PEN USA and the Whiting Foundation. Her writing about the earthquake- and tsunami-devastated Tohoku coast of Japan, Facing the Wave, was nominated for a National Book Award.
She has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Geographic Expedition Grants for travel in the Arctic, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities. Her writing has been widely anthologized in many “Best of…” volumes.
An advocate for northern people affected by climate change, Ehrlich has traveled since 1993 by dogsled with Inuit subsistence hunters in northwestern Greenland. She has been a rancher and a farmer, splitting her time between Hawaii, Wyoming, and now Montana.
As part of the lecture series, Ehrlich will spend time with students at Park High, as well as give a free public talk. The event takes place at 5:30 p.m. upstairs at Elk River Books, 120 N. Main St. in downtown Livingston.
Elk River Arts & Lectures is a non-profit organization that seeks to bring writers to Livingston for free public readings, and also to provide opportunities for those writers to interact with local public school students.
Accidental Gravity: Residents, Travelers, and the Landscape of Memory moves from Upstate New York to the Western United States; from golf-course geese in the suburban East to the wild lands of the Greater Yellowstone area, engaging with the realities of wildfire, invasive species and ever-increasing numbers of tourists in the context of climate change.
“Accidental Gravity represents an important contribution to American nature writing,” writes Sydney Landon Plum, author of Solitary Goose. “Quetchenbach’s wonderfully crafted essays are a lyric nudge in a new direction. The genre has for too long been constrained such that only the voices of those rooted in a specific place have been heard and canonized. This has silenced or marginalized at least one generation of contemporary writers who, due to the socioeconomic trends of late 20th century America, have never been able to put down roots in one, dear place. This collection boldly opens the door for an insurgence.”
The free event begins at 7 p.m. upstairs at Elk River Books, 120 N. Main St. in Livingston, and will be followed by a book signing and reception.