Scott R. Sanders

Scott R. Sanders

Fellow: Awarded 1992
Field of Study: General Nonfiction

Competition: US & Canada

Scott Sanders was born in Tennessee and grew up in Ohio. He studied at Brown University before going on, as a Marshall Scholar, to complete a Ph.D. in English literature at Cambridge University. In 1971 he joined the faculty of Indiana University, where he taught until 2009, retiring as Distinguished Professor of English.

He has published twenty books, including novels, collections of stories and essays, and personal narratives. He has also published seven storybooks for children. His work has appeared in such magazines as Harper’s, Audubon, Orion, and The Georgia Review, and it has been reprinted in The Art of the Essay, American Nature Writing, The Norton Reader, and other anthologies. His collection of essays, The Paradise of Bombs, won the Associated Writing Programs Award in Creative Nonfiction in 1987. Staying Put, a celebration of the commitment to place, won the Ohioana Book Award in 1994. Writing from the Center, an account of the quest for a meaningful and moral life, won the 1996 Great Lakes Book Award. His more recent books include Hunting for Hope (1998), an exploration of sources for healing and renewal; The Country of Language (1999), an account of experiences that have shaped his work as a writer; The Force of Spirit (2000), meditations on the sacred in everyday life; and A Private History of Awe (2006), a coming-of-age memoir, love story, and spiritual testament, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His latest book is A Conservationist Manifesto (2009), which lays out the ecological, ethical, and practical grounds for shifting from a culture based on consumption to a culture based on stewardship.

Mr. Sanders has received fellowships for writing from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Indiana Arts Commission, and the Lilly Endowment. His work has been selected for The Best American Essays, The Kenyon Review Award for Literary Excellence, the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award, the John Burroughs Essay Award, the Indiana Humanities Award, and the Mark Twain Award. For his collected work in nonfiction, he was honored in 1995 with a Lannan Literary Award.

In his books he is concerned with our place in nature, the practice of community, the relationship between culture and geography, and the search for a spiritual path. He and his wife, Ruth, a biochemist, have reared two children in their home town of Bloomington, in the hardwood hill country of the White River Valley in southern Indiana.


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