Terry Tempest Williams


Terry Tempest Williams is the author of seventeen books focusing on an ethic of place, including the classic in environmental literature Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place. Her most recent book is The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks. Williams has received a Lannan Literary Fellowship in creative nonfiction and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and her work has been anthologized worldwide. She is currently writer-in-residence at the Harvard Divinity School. She lives in Castle Valley, Utah, with her husband.

We are surrounded by hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands, lands that belong to We the People in this country we call America. These lands are a varied palette of color and geography from sagebrush seas ubiquitous to the West; to petrified sand dunes now monuments of stone; to buttes and mesas, hoodoos and spires; to arches and windows blown open by wind, water, and time. This is an erosional landscape where geology reveals the open history of Earth….

As Westerners, we take our public lands seriously. We know they are our birthright as American citizens. They are the lands we graze, mine, drill, frack, log, wander in and recreate on. They are also the lands we recognize as our national forests, seashores, wetlands, national parks and wildlife refuges. Breathing spaces, I call them, in a society increasingly holding its breath.


Some of my favorite people on earth are in this book,
Dear writers and grand spirits.

Annie Dillard