Key West Literary Seminar
"SPIRIT OF PLACE: American Literary Landscapes"
January 10-13, 2002
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Panelist - Annick Smith
ANNICK SMITH'S books include Homestead, Big Bluestem, and the just published
In This We Are Native, Memoirs and Journeys. She was co-editor of the
Montana anthology, The Last Best Place, and her essays have appeared in
Audubon, Outside, Modern Maturity, The New York Times, Islands, and Big Sky
Journal. Her story, "It's Come To This," which won a National Magazine
Award in Fiction for Story Magazine, was published in Best American Short
Stories, 1992, and has been widely anthologized.
Smith's film credits include being executive producer of the prize-winning
feature, Heartland, and a co-producer of Robert Redford's Academy Award
winning adaptation of Norman Maclean's A River Runs Through It. She was
born in Paris, grew up in Chicago, and has lived for thirty years on a
homestead ranch in Montana's Blackfoot River valley. Currently, Smith is
working on a novel set in the Grand Canyon and Sitka, Alaska.
In This We Are Native, Memoirs and Journeys, Lyon Press
Homestead, Milkweed Editions
Big Bluestem, Council Oak Books
The Last Best Place (co-editor), Grove/Pequot
"Smith came to Montana by way of Paris and Chicago,
taking up the trek west her parents began when they left Hungary; but it
was only years later, after establishing her Montana homestead and
becoming thoroughly meshed with Big Sky Country, that Smith realized
that, like her parents, she had immigrated to a "land of greater
freedom." This is the sort of subtle pattern Smith contemplates in her
thoughtful and involving essays. She shares some evocative memories of
her culturally stimulating childhood along Lake Michigan, remembering
her self-effacing mother and her father, Stephen Deutch, an "almost
Smith married young and ended up in Montana in
1970 with her incurably ill husband and their four sons. They purchased
163 acres of land, built a home out of a recycled log house, and worked
hard at living, writing, filmmaking, and loving until Dave's expected
but nevertheless jolting death.
Smith writes tenderly about these
experiences, then rapturously about hiking, skiing, fishing the Big
Blackfoot River, dancing, enjoying the company of literary friends Bill
Kittredge and Norman Maclean, and working on the film version of A River
Runs through It.
A low-key yet forceful writer, Smith gives us much to
ponder and admire. Donna Seaman Ingram describes how the author and her
family built a wilderness homestead in 1959 Montana that grew into a
flourishing ranch and recounts the many adventures that found their
roots in early American western and pioneering traditions."
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