Barry Lopez to share the writer’s burden

The author of Arctic Dreams will speak at the Durango Public Library on Friday. His lecture is called “The Writer and Social Responsibility.” Enlarge photo

Courtesy of David Liittschwager

The author of Arctic Dreams will speak at the Durango Public Library on Friday. His lecture is called “The Writer and Social Responsibility.”

When an author is compared to Henry David Thoreau, it’s heady praise indeed, but Barry Lopez lives up to the hype.

On Friday, the National Book Award-winning author will present his lecture “The Writer and Social Responsibility” at the Durango Public Library. He will come to Durango as a guest of the Friends of Crow Canyon Archaeological Center as part of the Distinguished Lecturers Series. He will sign copies of his many books after the lecture.

Lopez is best known as the author of the 2001 book Arctic Dreams, for which he received the National Book Award. He spent four years living in the Arctic region chronicling the natives’ life-and-death struggle for daily survival in one of the most unforgiving climates on Earth. Among his other nonfiction books are About This Life and Of Wolves and Men, which was a National Book Award finalist.

Lopez is also the author of several award-winning works of fiction, including Field Notes, Winter Count and a novella-length fable, Crow and Weasel. His recent work includes Light Action in the Caribbean, a collection of stories, and 2004’s Resistance, a book of interrelated stories. He was also co-editor with Debra Gwartney of Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape.

He has written for several of publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, The American Scholar, The Paris Review, Orion, Outside and National Geographic, among others. He lives in rural western Oregon.

Lopez’s writings have frequently been compared to those of Thoreau, as he immerses himself in his surroundings and integrates his environmental and humanitarian concerns into his text. In his nonfiction, he often examines the relationship between human culture and physical landscape. In his fiction, he frequently addresses issues of intimacy, ethics and identity.

Proceeds from the Distinguished Lecturers Series benefit the Four Corners Youth Scholarship Fund at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. Founded in 1983, the center is dedicated to understanding, teaching and helping preserve the rich history of the ancestral Puebloans of the Southwest.

ted@durangoherald.com