William Kittredge


William Kittredge is the author of numerous books of fiction and nonfiction, including the memoir Hole in the Sky; three collections of essays, Owning It All, Who Owns the West, and Balancing Water; as well as the novel The Willow Field. With Annick Smith, Kittredge coedited The Last Best Place: A Montana Anthology and coproduced the Academy Award-winning film A River Runs Through It. For his work Kittredge has received the Montana Governor’s Award for the Arts, the Robert Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Times, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Western Literature Association, and was cowinner of both the Montana Governor’s Award for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Charles Frankel Award, awarded by President Clinton. He lives in Montana.

The massive stone fireplace in our house and those fields below us constituted emotional locations in what was to be my childhood homeland. Out on our lawn in the luminous early morning, barefoot in blue pajamas, I gazed up at V-shaped, undulating flights of waterbirds— darting blue- and green-winged teal and green-headed mallard drakes and redheads and canvasbacks and thousands of Canadian honkers, phalarope, and avocet, and gulls from the distant Pacific—flotillas of migrating birds, their wings sighing in the stillness, soaring, lifting, and clamoring. Oscar told me they were heading for nesting grounds in the Arctic tundra or in river-mouth estuaries beyond the boreal forests, wherever such forests were. My urge to mix storytelling and nature was underway.


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

Annie Dillard