Terry Tempest Williams


Terry Tempest Willams.

Acclaimed writer, activist and teacher Terry Tempest Williams will be the featured speaker on Thursday, October 13, at the 2016 SHIFT Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Williams’ forthcoming book, The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks, to be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in May, is an ode to the complexity and continuity of our public lands, as exemplified in our national parks and monuments. The Hour of Land has been longlisted for the 2017 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and Non-Fiction.

Tickets for Terry Tempest Williams are available here.

Williams was recently in the news for her purchase, with her husband, Brooke Williams, of leasing rights to 1,120 acres of federal public lands near their home in Utah.

The purchase was made, she wrote in a March 29 essay in The New York Times, “to shine a light on the auctioning away of America’s public lands to extract the very fossil fuels that are warming our planet and pushing us toward climate disaster.”

Williams’ work on behalf of public lands ties in with SHIFT’s 2016 focus, said director Christian Beckwith.

He points to the first of The Principles for Advancing Outdoor Recreation and Conservation, which were introduced at last year’s SHIFT and serve as the guidelines for the organization’s efforts. It states:

“Outdoor recreation and conservation require that a diversity of lands and waters be publicly owned, available for public access, and well-stewarded. The uniquely American public land heritage is a privilege and a birthright. Stewardship of our public lands – including waters and wildlife – is our responsibility.”

“Terry’s unflagging commitment to our public lands is extraordinary,” said Beckwith. “As we work to protect them, she inspires our efforts.”

Williams, like her writing, cannot be categorized. She has testified before Congress on women’s health issues, been a guest at the White House, has camped in the remote regions of Utah and Alaska wildernesses and worked as “a barefoot artist” in Rwanda.

Known for her impassioned and lyrical prose, Williams is the author of the environmental literature classic, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and PlaceAn Unspoken Hunger: Stories from the FieldDesert QuartetLeapRed: Patience and Passion in the Desert; and The Open Space of Democracy. Her book Finding Beauty in a Broken World was published in 2008 by Pantheon Books. She is a columnist for the magazine The Progressive.

In 2006, Williams received the Robert Marshall Award from The Wilderness Society, their highest honor given to an American citizen. She also received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western American Literature Association and the Wallace Stegner Award given by The Center for the American West. She is the recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in creative nonfiction.

In 2009, Williams was featured in Ken Burns’ PBS series on the national parks. She is also the recipient of the 2010 David R. Brower Conservation Award for activism. The Community of Christ International Peace Award was presented in 2011 to Williams in recognition of significant peacemaking vision, advocacy and action.

Williams is currently the Annie Clark Tanner Scholar in Environmental Humanities at the University of Utah. Her writing has appeared in The New YorkerThe New York Times, Orion Magazine, and numerous anthologies worldwide as a crucial voice for ecological consciousness and social change.

She and her husband divide their time between Castle Valley, Utah and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Her most recent book, When Women Were Birds, was published in Spring 2012 by Macmillan.

Williams joins hunter-gatherer Steven Rinella as the first of the announced speakers for the 2016 SHIFT Festival. Mr. Rinella will keynote The People’s Banquet, the popular celebration of the Jackson Hole food system, on Saturday, Oct. 15.

Tickets for the 2016 SHIFT Festival can be found here.

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