A unique chance to connect with one of the titans of the American environmental movement takes place on Tuesday night, as John McPhee comes to Iowa City. He’s written 29 books in a 40+ year career that’s seen him elegantly blend journalism with aspects of novelistic writing. His first book, A Sense of Where You Are, is actually one that I just read. Originally intended to be just one chapter for the New Yorker, he expanded it into book form to more fully capture the career as well as the personality of a young Bill Bradley – then a consensus All-American basketball player at Princeton. Bradley went on to be a Rhodes Scholar, a 10-year pro with the New York Knicks, and then a United States Senator who flirted with the presidency at times in his career. Not that McPhee’s interest in him aided that in any way; Bradley was destined for greatness regardless. But McPhee’s initial undertaking shows his gifts in investigating, analyzing, and profiling.
Somewhere, he became interested in the environment and humanity, and wrote several books about how the two interact. And while his writing style generally remains well-informed and unbiased, books like Encounters with the Archdruid and The Control of Nature show McPhee’s concern for the way that humans affect their habitat.
This reading is sponsored by the University’s Creative Non-Fiction writing program and is free and open to the public. Tickets must be acquired at the Englert box office, however, and can be picked up any time today or tomorrow. The box office is open from 1-6pm.
Following the reading, McPhee will be joined by Michael Silverblatt of NPR’s Bookworm for a conversation.
Who: John McPhee
When: Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 7pm
Where: Englert Theatre
How Much: FREE