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Rebecca Solnit honored as 2011 Robert Laxalt Distinguished Writer



The Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno in collaboration with Nevada Humanities will honor Rebecca Solnit, author, journalist and art critic, as the 2011 Robert Laxalt Distinguished Writer, with events to be held Oct. 19-20 in Reno.

Solnit will speak at the university about the craft of writing and at the Nevada Museum of Art in dialogue with Education Curator Colin Robertson on the museum’s collection and exhibition, The Altered Landscape.

Named by Utne Reader as “one of 25 visionaries who are changing our world,” the San Francisco-based essayist and journalist draws from a deep cross section of the ecology of life from which she writes her eloquent works on art and photography, politics, history and landscapes urban and rural.

A voice for creative and environmental activism, Solnit has published 13 books and numerous essays, is a contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine and has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Lannan Literary Award.

Solnit’s award-winning book, A Paradise Built in Hell, was chosen as a best book of the year by The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from San Francisco State University and a master’s in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently an Andrew D. White professor at large at Cornell University, where she explores themes of environment and social justice.

“Rebecca’s work examines the inextricable relationship between man and the environment,” said Warren Lerude, a longtime Laxalt friend and professor emeritus in the Reynolds School of Journalism. “Recurring themes in the type of writing for which Robert Laxalt is remembered.”

Considered by many to be Nevada’s finest writer, Laxalt founded the University of Nevada Press and wrote 17 books, four of which were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. He also wrote for National Geographic and was a professor in the University’s Reynolds School of Journalism for 18 years, teaching magazine writing and literary journalism.

The Robert Laxalt Distinguished Writer Program was established posthumously in 2001 to inspire new generations of writers in honor of Laxalt, who developed from news reporter to fiction and nonfiction author during his prolific career. Solnit is the eighth writer to be honored by the program.

As part of the Laxalt Distinguished Writer Program, Solnit’s public speaking events will include the following:

What: Rebecca Solnit – The Craft of Writing
When: Wednesday, Oct. 19, 7 p.m.
Where: Joe Crowley Student Union Theatre, University of Nevada, Reno campus
The lecture is free and open to the public. Free parking is available at the university’s Brian J. Whalen Parking Complex, 4th floor, on North Virginia Street just south of Lawlor Events Center.

What: Meet the Critic: A Dialogue with Rebecca Solnit on The Altered Landscape
When: Thursday, Oct. 20, 1 p.m.
Where: Nevada Museum of Art, 160 West Liberty St., Reno
The event is open to the public. Tickets are $10 for nonmembers and $8 for Nevada Museum of Art members. Free parking is available at the Nevada Museum of Art.

For more information

The Laxalt Distinguished Writer events are sponsored by the University of Nevada, Reno’s Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism in collaboration with Nevada Humanities and funded through community contributions, including the College of Liberal Arts Hilliard Endowment and generous support from the John Ben Snow Memorial Trust. The Nevada Museum of Art event also is cosponsored by the Nevada Museum of Art’s Center for Art + Environment, in collaboration with the University’s Literature and Environment Program.

Nevada’s land-grant university founded in 1874, the University of Nevada, Reno has an enrollment of nearly 17,000 students. The University is home to one the country’s largest study-abroad programs and the state’s medical school, and offers outreach and education programs in all Nevada counties. For more information, visit http://www.unr.edu .

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