A Visit From Terry Tempest Williams

Terry Tempest Williams

Naturalist and author delivers talk, spends afternoon and dinner with students in environmental writing/justice courses

The Gaudino Fund sponsored a 2016 Earth Week visit to Williams by Terry Tempest Williams. A naturalist and author, Williams explores how environmental issues are social issues and ultimately matters of justice.

In an anthologized conversation with the author and environmentalist Derrick Jensen, Williams said, “I’ve been thinking about what it means to bear witness. The past ten years I’ve been bearing witness to death, bearing witness to women I love, and bearing witness to the [nuclear] testing going on in the Nevada desert … Bearing witness to both the beauty and pain of our world is a task that I want to be part of. As a writer, this is my work. By bearing witness, the story that is told can provide a healing ground. Through the art of language, the art of story, alchemy can occur. And if we choose to turn our backs, we’ve walked away from what it means to be human.”

The author, most recently, of The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks (2016) Williams has also written 15 other books including Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place; An Unspoken Hunger: Stories from the Field; Finding Beauty in a Broken World; and When Women Were Birds. She is a columnist for The Progressive and has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Orion Magazine, among other publications.

In addition to a public talk/reading from her newest book, Williams spent a moving afternoon and dinner with a total of 38 students from the eight environmental writing/justice courses offered that semester.

“With her own openness,” former Gaudino Scholar Lois Banta noted, “Terry inspired the students to share their own thoughts and vulnerabilities in a way that they almost never feel free to do in a classroom setting.”