National Wilderness Conference Keynote Speaker: Terry Tempest Williams, author

Terry Tempest Williams is called "a citizen writer," a writer who speaks eloquently on behalf of an ethical stance toward life. A naturalist and fierce advocate for freedom of speech, she consistently shows us how environmental issues are social issues that ultimately become matters of justice. "So here is my question," she asks, "what might a different kind of power look or feel like, and can power be redistributed equitably, even beyond our own species?"

Williams, like her writing, cannot be categorized. She testified before Congress on women's health issues, was a guest at the White House, camped in the remote regions of Utah and Alaska wildernesses and worked as "a barefoot artist" in Rwanda.

Known for her impassioned and lyrical prose, Williams is the author of the environmental literature classics: Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place; An Unspoken Hunger: Stories from the Field; Desert Quartet; Leap; Red: Patience and Passion in the Desert; and The Open Space of Democracy. Her book Finding Beauty in a Broken World, was published in 2008 by Pantheon Books. She is also a columnist for the magazine The Progressive.

In 2006, Williams received the "Robert Marshall Award" from The Wilderness Society, their highest honor given to an American citizen. She also received the "Distinguished Achievement Award" from the Western American Literature Association and the "Wallace Stegner Award" given by the Center for the American West. She is the recipient of a "Lannan Literary Fellowship" and a "John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship" in creative nonfiction. In 2009, Williams was featured in Ken Burns' PBS series on the national parks. She is also the recipient of the 2010 "David R. Brower Conservation Award" for activism, and in 2011 was honored with the "Community of Christ International Peace Award" in recognition of significant peacemaking vision, advocacy and action.

Terry Tempest Williams is currently the Annie Clark Tanner Scholar in Environmental Humanities at the University of Utah. Her writings appear in The New Yorker, the New York Times, Orion Magazine, and numerous anthologies worldwide as a crucial voice for ecological consciousness and social change. She and her husband, Brooke Williams, divide their time between Castle Valley, Utah and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Her most recent book, When Women Were Birds, was published in spring of 2012 by Macmillan.

Williams will be speaking at the National Wilderness Conference on Thursday, October 16th as part of the following: Wilderness and Our Sense of Place with keynote speakers Nathan Small, Las Cruces, New Mexico, City Councilman; Dr. Greg Cajete, Native American educator; Terry Tempest Williams, author