"Red Rocks Testimony, Reading On The Soul Of Public Lands,” 8/25

Telluride’s indie Between the Covers Bookstore and indie publisher Torrey House Press announce “Red Rock Testimony: Readings on the Soul of Americaʼs Public Lands,” at the Ah Haa School on August 25. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; readings begin at 7 p.m. High Alpine Coffee Bar (located in the back of Between the Covers Bookstore) plans to furnish Prickly Pear Iced Tea, a beloved native refreshment. The evening also includes small silent auction with items donated by Patagonia and others. A panel discussion and a Q&A round out the evening. Proceeds to go towards organizations working tirelessly on preserving regional public lands. Come for a toast to public lands staying in public hands! 

Between the Covers Bookstore—Tellurideʼs indie bookshop since 1974—and non-profit publisher Torrey House Press of Torrey, Utah, present an evening of readings and discussion about Americaʼs public lands based on the publisherʼs recent releases “Red Rock Stories: Three Generations of Writers Speak on Behalf of Utahʼs Public Lands” and “Edge of Morning: Native Voices Speak for the Bears Ears.”

The timing of the August 25th event is especially interesting, coming a day after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinkeʼs deadline for his recommendations to the president on 27 monument designations, including several that are much beloved by the regionʼs residents.

Hanging in the balance are reductions in size or total rescindment. In the last three-and-a-half months, Zinke has managed to visit eight of the 27, including one of the newest—Bears Ears National Monument in Utah—established on December 28, 2016, by former president Barack Obama.

Talk of an event in Telluride heralding the effort and passion for preserving what previous administrations had set in place came up after Between the Covers Bookstoreʼs co-owner Daiva Chesonis attended packed-house readings at Ken Sanders Rare Books in Salt Lake City, Utah, in February. In attendance were Torrey House publisher Kirsten Allen, and local authors Amy Irvine and Craig Childs.

About the Books:

“Red Rock Stories” conveys spiritual and cultural values of Utahʼs canyon country through essays and poems by writers whose births span seven decades. First delivered to decision-makers in Washington as a limited-edition chapbook, this art–as–advocacy work explores the fierce beauty of and the dangers to ecological and archaeological integrity in this politically embattled corner of wild America.

Of the book, Robert Redford has said:

“Utah has been my home for over half a century. Native Americans have inhabited these landscapes since time immemorial. The writers in ‘Red Rock Storiesʼ capture that bond in essays and poems that run as deep as the canyons of the Colorado River.”

David Quammenʼs plea follows:

“Public lands accessible to all nurture a free people, of diverse cultures, some with ancient bonds to such landscapes. They are not a luxury or a waste. Try running an engine with gas but no oil. Also, please read this book.”

In “Edge of Morning,” native writers bear testimony to the fragile and essential nature of the sacred landscape of Bears Ears National Monument in Americaʼs remote red rock country. Through poem and essay, these often-ignored voices explore the ways many native people derive tradition, sustenance, and cultural history from the Bears Ears. Edited by Jacqueline Keeler, a Navajo/Dakota writer who lives in Portland, Oregon, contributors include Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk (of the Ute tribe and one of the readers on August 25), Jim Enote of the Zuni, and Luci Tapahonso, 2013 Poet Laureate of the Navajo Nation.

The Lineup:

The lineup for the evening includes Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk, Stephen Trimble, Jack Watson, Amy Irvine, and Craig Childs.

Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk was born and raised in southwestern Colorado. She is a member of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and advocates for the land, air, water and animals. She has traveled throughout the country presenting, speaking and sharing the Ute culture through song and dance. In addition to being a Councilwoman for the Ute Mountain Ute tribe,

Whiteskunk was also the only female leader of the Inter Tribal Coalition, consisting of senior representatives of Hopi, Navajo, Ute Indian, Ute Mountain Indian and Zuni tribes and was instrumental in pursuing efforts with the US Congress to obtain legislation for the formation of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah.

Stephen Trimble was a park ranger at Arches and Capitol Reef National Parks in his twenties and has since published more than 20 books. Trimble received the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award for photography and conservation and a Wallace Stegner Centennial Fellowship at the University of Utah Tanner Humanities Center.

In 1995, Trimble co–compiled with Terry Tempest Williams the landmark book of advocacy, “Testimony: Writers of the West Speak on Behalf of Utah Wilderness”— the model for “Red Rock Stories”—of which he is credited as editor. He teaches writing in the University of Utah Honors College and makes his home in Salt Lake City and in Torrey, Utah.

Jack Watson is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Harvard Law School. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps, leaving with the rank of Captain. Watsonʼs public service continued, serving as head of the Carter-Mondale Policy Planning Group in 1976, and later as Director of the Transition Team during the transition of government from President Ford to President Carter.

Under President Carter, from 1977 to 1981, Watson served as Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs, Secretary to the Cabinet, and White House Chief of Staff. He chaired the President’s Interagency Coordinating Council created by Executive Order in 1978 to coordinate implementation of the President’s domestic policy.

Amy Irvine is a sixth-generation Utahan and longtime wilderness advocate who, for seven years, worked for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA).

Irvine’s work has appeared in Orion, Triquarterly, Climbing, High Desert Journal and in numerous western, nature and environmental anthologies. Her second book, “Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land,” received the Orion Book Award and Colorado Book Award, while the Los Angeles Times wrote that it “might very well be Desert Solitaire’s literary heir.” Irvine’s essay “SpectralLight,” Orion, January-February 2010/The Best American Science and Nature Writing of 2011, was a finalist for the Pen Award in Journalism.

Irvine completed a faculty fellowship in Southern New Hampshire Universityʼs low-residency MFA program, where she now teaches non-fiction. She is founding director of Tellurideʼs infamous Literary Burlesque, in which she performs annually during the Literary Arts Festival.

Amy Irvine  lives in Norwood, Colorado.

Craig Childs is an author and explorer, who has published more than a dozen critically acclaimed books, including “House of Rain: Tracking a Vanished Civilization Across the American Southwest” and “The Secret Knowledge of Water: Discovering the Essence of the American Desert.” Childs’ most recent book, “Apocalyptic Planet,” won the Orion Book Award and he has twice won the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award.

Childs’ work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Men’s Journal, and Outside. The New York Times describes the author as follows:“Childs’s feats of asceticism are nothing if not awe inspiring: he’s a modern-day desert father.”

Craig Childs is, according to the New York Sun, “a born storyteller,” and the Los Angeles Times says his writing is “like pure oxygen,” and “stings like a slap in the face.”

An occasional commentator for NPRʼs Morning Edition, Childs is a an adjunct professor of writing at both University of Alaska in Anchorage and Southern New Hampshire University. His forthcoming book, “Atlas of a Lost World: Travels in Ice Age America,” will be released in spring of 2018.

Craig Childs lives in Norwood, Colorado.

Also in attendance will be Kirsten Allen and Mark Bailey, environmental activists and founders of Torrey House Press.

About Torrey House Press

The mission of this small independent press is to identify exceptional writers, nurture their work, and engage the widest possible audience; to publish diverse voices with transformative stories that illuminate important facets of the American West and our ever-changing planet; to develop literary resources for the conservation movement, educating and entertaining readers, inspiring action.

The company heartily believes that culture is changed through conversation and that lively contemporary literature is the cutting edge of social change. By building and engaging community in the conversation of conservation, they hope they are making their contribution to, as Wallace Stegner hoped for, a “society to match the scenery.”

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