University of Pittsburgh
February 17, 2002

Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series at Pitt to Feature Essayist Rick Bass

Contact:  412-624-4147

February 18, 2002

PITTSBURGH—Essayist Rick Bass will give a free reading as part of the University of Pittsburgh Writing Program's Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series at 8:15 p.m. Feb. 26 in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, Schenley Drive, in Oakland.

Bass, who lives in the Yaak Valley of Montana, is a nature essayist and fiction author who writes mainly about the West. Born in Fort Worth, Tex., Bass took an early interest in nature. As the son of a geologist, Bass earned the Bachelor of Science degree at Utah State University in 1979 and worked as a petroleum geologist for several years.

He used the experience of prospecting for new wells as the basis for his book "Oil Notes" (1989). Bass is the author of six volumes of natural history essays, including "Book of Yaak" (1996), a book that advocates the salvation of the Yaak Valley from the forest industry.

His first novel, "Where the Sea Used to Be," was published in 1998, and his first short story collection, "The Watch," won the 1988 PEN/Nelson Algren Award. He also is the author of "Brown Dog of the Yaak: Essays on Art and Activism" (1999), and "Colter: The True Story of the Best Dog I Ever Had" (2000).

Other featured authors scheduled to give free readings this semester are Alice Notley, March 21, and Wanda Coleman, April 4.

The Contemporary Writers Series is cosponsored by the Wyndham Garden Hotel-University Place, Pitt's East Asian Studies, The Book Center, Environmental Studies, Environmental Committee of the Student Government Board, and Western Pennsylvania Writing Project.