UM Creative Writing Program to Celebrate Kittredge

William "Bill" Kittredge

The University of Montana Creative Writing program will celebrate Professor Emeritus William “Bill” Kittredge with its Lifetime Achievement Award at the upcoming Montana Book Festival.

A panel discussion about Kittredge is set for 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, at Missoula’s Downtown Dance Collective, located at 121 W. Main St. He also will be presented with an original print by artist David Miles Lusk.

The panelists – along with Kittredge – include UM Creative Writing Director Debra Earling, English Professor Deirdre McNamer, creative writing Lecturer Robert Stubblefield and author Kim Zupan. They will discuss their own literary and personal histories related to Kittredge.

Stubblefield will tell stories about their eastern Oregon roots and the lifelong friendship he and Kittredge share. Earling will discuss, along with McNamer and Zupan, Kittredge’s importance to writers of the West.

Shawn McDermott, one of Kittredge’s last students at UM – when Kittredge himself served as the 2012 Distinguished Kittredge Visiting Writer – will discuss the author’s tremendous talents as a teacher and mentor.

In addition to the visiting writer position named in his honor, Kittredge’s UM legacy includes 30 years of instruction.

“Bill wants to be remembered most for his teaching,” said UM Creative Writing program coordinator Karin Schalm, who also is making a short film about Kittredge’s life. “He taught so many successful writers at UM over the years – Jon Jackson, Pete Fromm, Kim Barnes, Judy Blunt, Andrew Sean Greer, the list goes on and on. We are delighted to be celebrating Bill and all of his achievements at the Montana Book Festival.”

Kittredge 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 President Bill Clinton in 1994), Montana Governor’s Award for the Arts, Montana Governor’s Award for the Humanities and numerous other honors.

He was co-editor with Annick Smith of “The Last Best Place: A Montana Anthology” and co-producer of the film “A River Runs Through It.” He has published essays and articles in over 50 magazines, including the Atlantic, Harper’s, Esquire, Time, Newsweek, The Washington Post and The New York Times.

For more information, call Karin Schalm at 406-243-5267 or email