Crossing to Safety (Stegner)

Author Bio 
Birth—February 18, 1909
Where—Lake Mills, Iowa
Death—April 13, 1993
Where—Santa Fe, New Mexico
Education—B.A., University of Utah; Ph. D., State University 
  of Iowa
Awards—Pulitzer Prize, 1972; National Book Award for, 1977

Some call Wallace Stegner "The Dean of Western Writers." He was born in Lake Mills, Iowa and grew up in Great Falls, Montana, Salt Lake City, Utah and southern Saskatchewan, which he wrote about in his autobiography Wolf Willow. Stegner says he "lived in twenty places in eight states and Canada." While living in Utah, he joined a Boy Scout troop at a Mormon church (though he was not Mormon but Presbyterian himself) and earned the Eagle Scout award.

He received his B.A. at the University of Utah in 1930. He taught at the University of Wisconsin and Harvard University, and then he settled in at Stanford University, where he founded the creative writing program. His students included Sandra Day O'Connor, Edward Abbey, Wendell Berry, Thomas McGuane, Ken Kesey, Gordon Lish, Ernest Gaines, and Larry McMurtry.

He served as a special assistant to Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall. He was elected to the Sierra Club board of directors for a term that lasted 1964—1966. He also moved into a house in nearby Los Altos Hills and became one of the town's most prominent residents.

Stegner's novel Angle of Repose won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1972, and was directly based on the letters of Mary Hallock Foote (later published as the memoir A Victorian Gentlewoman in the Far West). Stegner's use of uncredited passages taken directly from Foote's letters caused a minor controversy. Stegner also won the National Book Award for The Spectator Bird in 1977. In the late 1980s, he refused a National Medal from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1992 because he believed the NEA had become too politicized. Crossing to Safety was published in 1987.

He died in Santa Fe, New Mexico, while visiting the city to give a lecture. His death was the result of injuries suffered in an automobile accident on March 28, 1993. He is the father of nature writer Page Stegner. (From Wikipedia.)

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