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Biography

Brief bio for introductions: Scott Russell Sanders is the author of twenty books of fiction and nonfiction, including A Private History of Awe and A Conservationist Manifesto. The best of his essays from the past thirty years, plus nine new essays, are collected in Earth Works, published in 2012 by Indiana University Press. Among his honors are the Lannan Literary Award, the John Burroughs Essay Award, the Mark Twain Award, the Cecil Woods Award for Nonfiction, the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2012 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His latest book is Divine Animal, a novel, published in 2014. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English at Indiana University, where he taught from 1971 to 2009. He and his wife, Ruth, a biochemist, have reared two children in their hometown of Bloomington, in the hardwood hill country of Indiana’s White River Valley.

Longer bio for reference: Sanders was born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1945. His father came from a family of cotton farmers in Mississippi, his mother from an immigrant doctor’s family in Chicago. He spent his early childhood in Tennessee and his school years in Ohio. He studied physics and English at Brown University, graduating in 1967. With the aid of a Marshall Scholarship, he pursued graduate work at Cambridge University, where he completed his Ph.D. in English in 1971. From 1971 until his retirement in 2009, he taught at Indiana University, from 1995 onward as Distinguished Professor of English.

Among his more than twenty books are novels, collections of stories, and works of personal nonfiction, including Staying Put, Writing from the Center, and Hunting for Hope. His recent books include A Private History of Awe, a coming-of-age memoir, love story, and spiritual testament; A Conservationist Manifesto, his vision of a shift from a culture of consumption to a culture of caretaking; and Earth Works, a selection of his best essays from the past thirty years. His latest book is the novel Divine Animal, a story of healing.

Sanders has received the Lannan Literary Award, the Associated Writing Programs Award in Creative Nonfiction, the Great Lakes Book Award, the Kenyon Review Literary Award, the John Burroughs Essay Award, and the Indiana Humanities Award, among other honors, and has received support for his writing from the Lilly Endowment, the Indiana Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. The Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature named him the 2009 winner of the Mark Twain Award; in 2010 he was named the National Winner of the Glick Indiana Authors Award; in 2011 the Fellowship of Southern Writers presented him with the Cecil Woods, Jr. Award in Nonfiction; and in 2012 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

He is currently at work on a collection of short stories, a children's musical, and a book about the meaning of wealth. His writing examines the human place in nature, the pursuit of social justice, the relation between culture and geography, and the search for a spiritual path. He and his wife, Ruth, a biochemist, have reared two children in their hometown of Bloomington, in the hardwood hill country of Indiana’s White River Valley.

Additional material about SRS has been posted on Wikipedia here. (He has not contributed to or edited this entry.)


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