by Mason Voehl
On behalf of Camas Magazine and the University of Montana, I have the privilege to acknowledge and introduce this spring’s Distinguished Kittredge Visiting Writer and Camas Magazine’s featured writer, Richard Manning.
William Kittredge has said about him: “Richard Manning is the most significant social critic in the northern Rockies and short-grass plains. [...] We’re fortunate to have Dick Manning as he continues his demands for fairness while casting light on our future.”
Richard Manning graduated from the University of Montana with an undergraduate degree in political science. He has since written ten books, including One Round River, which was named a significant book of the year by The New York Times. He also works as a freelance magazine writer, and his essays and articles can be found in Harper’s, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Wired, Men’s Journal, OnEarth, The Los Angeles Times, American Scholar, The New York Times, Audubon, Outside, High Country News, and Northern Lights, among others.
There is so much more to say about the awards and achievements Manning has merited throughout his career as an author and a journalist: winner of the University of Montana’s Mansfield Center’s Lud Browman award for science writing, Richard Margolis award for environmental writing, Montana Audubon Society award for environmental reporting, Montana Wilderness Association award for writing, three-time winner of C.B. Blethen Award for investigative journalism.
The list goes on. But I’d like to instead drop the veil for a few moments and speak from my experience of Richard Manning as a student in his current writing workshop.
Manning has an electricity about him that is both frightening and irresistible. He seems to know something about absolutely everything, and more often than not has written about the subject at hand to boot. Manning has an intellect of rare incisiveness: he can see into, through, and around a story all at once somehow. He can tell what you as an aspiring writer are trying to say, what you really want to be saying, and how what you’re actually saying isn’t doing either job as well as it could be. He has a reverence for the practice of writing that in turn demands a high level of passion and precision from both himself and from his students. We at Camas Magazine are grateful for this opportunity to engage with and learn from Richard Manning during his time on campus this semester.
The following is a link to the recording of last night’s Wild Mercy event at which Manning performed a live reading of some of his wonderful work: https://www.facebook.com/camasmagazine/videos/10155415019353549/