by Holly Wren Spaulding
The renown writer, naturalist, and world explorer, Peter Matthiessen will offer a master class for readers and writers next Friday, October 29 from 10:30 AM-12:30 PM at Fountain Point, an historic resort on the northern shore of Lake Leelanau. Co-hosted by the resort and Michigan Writers, the presentation precedes his appearance at the Opera House as part of the National Writers Series.
Join this iconic American author in a salon-like setting for a craft talk and discussion about the opportunities and particular challenges facing socially and politically engaged writers at this moment in American history and culture. The discussion will address issues of craft—both for fiction and non-fiction writers—and include a brief question and answer session. Coffee and light snacks will be provided. Participants are encouraged—but not required—to RSVP by calling Fountain Point at 231-256-9800 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. This event is free to members of Michigan Writers. The general public is most welcome and free-will donations are gladly accepted. Books will be for sale at this event.
A prolific writer of considerable achievement, Peter Matthiessen is considered a major figure in 20th century literature and is the author of dozens of books, articles and stories, including the novels Killing Mr. Watson, Far Tortuga, and most recently, Shadow Country, for which he received the National Book Award. His novel, At Play in the Fields of the Lord (1965), was also nominated for a National Book Award and was later made into a Hollywood film of the same name.
His non-fiction titles are characterized by an elegiac examination of vanishing cultures, oppressed peoples, and the wildlife and landscapes that are under siege due to climate change, culture and the aggressive exploitation of natural resources. He has also written about American Indian rights, race issues, and his study and practice of zen Buddhism. The Spirit of Crazy Horse, Wildlife in America, and The Snow Leopard are among his best known titles in this genre. More recent books include End of the Earth: Voyage to Antarctica and The Birds of Heaven: Travels with Cranes.
A master of scientific observation, lyrical prose, and the story, Matthiessen is a world traveler whose extraordinary adventures have resulted in books about Alaska, the Canadian Northwest Territories, Asia, Oceania and wilderness areas of South America, Africa, and New Guinea. While living in France in the 1950’s he founded the Paris Review and served as its first fiction editor.
Of his long and distinguished career, William Styron remarked that “Peter Matthiessen has created a unique body of work. It is the work of a man in ecstatic contemplation of our beautiful and inexplicable planet . . . we behold a writer of phenomenal scope and versatility.”