Fellow: Awarded 2009
Field of Study: General Nonfiction
Competition: US & Canada
Bruce Barcott is an independent environmental journalist and writer. While working as a writer and editor for the alternative newspaper Seattle Weekly (1989-97), Mr. Barcott, long fascinated by his home territory of the Pacific Northwest, compiled Northwest Passages: A Literary Anthology of The Pacific Northwest from Coyote Tales to Roadside Attractions (Sasquatch Books, 1994). Not only did that anthology garner positive reviews at the time of its publication, but in 2007 the Pacific Northwest Historians’ Guild proclaimed it the finest modern anthology of writing about the region. His next monograph, The Measure of a Mountain: Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier (Sasquatch Books, 1997; Ballantine Books, 1998), received the Washington State Governor’s Book Award.
His interest in environmental issues is not limited to his home state, however. The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman’s Fight to Save the Most Beautiful Bird in the World (Random House, 2008), which was the cover story of the February 17, 2008, New York Times Book Review, took him to Belize; “Love and Death and the Leviathan’s Lair” (www.outsidemag.com/magazine/0799/9907whales.html) found him in Baja, covering a proposed salt works that threatened a gray whale nursery in Mexico in 1999; and in 2002 he travelled to Hawaii to research “Soaked: A journey to the wettest place on Earth” for the March issue of outside.away.com.
His articles range from a feature on the European bee-eater, to grizzly poaching, to environmental terrorism, to genetically altered seed stock, religious environmentalism, and political environmental debate. His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Mother Jones, National Geographic, Harper’s, and Sports Illustrated, among many other journals. During his Guggenheim term, he will be completing Blood in the Water, a nonfiction account of the sometimes violent struggle between the Native Americans and white citizenry in the Pacific Northwest over salmon fishing rights, which will incorporate personal memoir, oral history, and printed accounts of what he considers “one of the great civil rights struggles in American history.”
BRuce Barcott received a Ted Scripps Fellowship in Environmental Journalism in 2006. He is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.