Debra Magpie Earling, Director
Liberal Arts 215
In 2016, William Finnegan won the Pulitzer Prize in Autobiography for Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life (Penguin). His book Cold New World: Growing Up in a Harder Country (Random House) was selected as a Los Angeles Times Best Nonfiction of 1998 and honored by the New York Times as a Notable Book of the Year. Another award-winning book, Crossing the Line: A Year in the Land of Apartheid (Harper & Row), was selected by the New York Times Book Review as one of the 10 best nonfiction books of 1986. Finnegan is also the author of A Complicated War: The Harrowing of Mozambique (University of California Press, 1998) and Dateline Soweto: Travels with Black South African Reporters (Harper & Row, 1995). Having served as a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1987, he has garnered numerous journalism awards including two Overseas Press Club Awards since 2008. Finnegan, who graduated with an MFA from the University of Montana Creative Writing Program in 1978, will be honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award this fall.
William Kittredge taught creative writing for 30 years at The University of Montana. He is the author of two collections of short fiction, The Van Gogh Fields and Other Stories (1979) and We Are Not In This Together (1984); a novel, The Willow Field (2006); a memoir, Hole in the Sky (1992); and three collections of essays, Owning It All (1987), Who Owns the West (1996) and The Next Rodeo: New and Selected Essays (2006). He has received a Stegner Fellowship, two NEA Fellowships, the Los Angeles Times Award for Lifetime Achievement, the National Humanities Award (presented by Bill Clinton in the Rose Garden in 1994), Montana Governor’s Award for the Arts, Montana Governor’s Award for the Humanities, and numerous other awards. He was co-editor with Annick Smith of The Last Best Place: A Montana Anthology and co-producer of A River Runs Through It. Kittredge has published essays and articles in over 50 magazines, including Atlantic, Harper's, Esquire, Time, Newsweek, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.
Melissa Kwasny, a visiting professor for Spring 2018, is the author of six books of poetry, most recently Where Outside the Body is the Soul Today, published by the University of Washington Press in its Pacific Northwest Poetry Series, and a collection of essays, Earth Recitals: Essays on Image and Vision. She co-edited, with M.L. Smoker an anthology of poetry in defense of global human rights, I Go to the Ruined Place, and edited Toward the Open Field: Poets on the Art of Poetry 1800-1959, a book which brings together many of the great prose pieces by the most influential European and American poets from the Romantics to the Symbolists, Surrealists, and Moderns. Widely published in journals, including Willow Springs, Threepenny Review, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Gettysburg Review, Orion, Bellingham Review, Kenyon Review, and Boston Review, her poems and essays are also included in the anthologies The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral (Josh Corey and G.C. Waldrep, eds.), Montana Women Writers: A Geography of the Heart (Carolyn Patterson, editor), Poems Across the Big Sky and New Poets of the American West (both edited by Lowell Jaeger), as well as in West of 98: Living and Writing the American West (Russell Rowland and Lynn Stegner, eds.) A book of nonfiction investigating the cultural history of animals and our clothing, Putting on the Dog, will appear from Trinity University Press in 2018.