Barry Lopez was born in 1945 in Port Chester, New York. He grew up in Southern California and New York City and attended college in the Midwest before moving to Oregon, where he has lived since 1968. He is an essayist, author and short-story writer, and has traveled extensively in remote and populated parts of the world.
He is the author of Arctic Dreams, for which he received the National Book Award, Of Wolves and Men, a National Book Award finalist for which he received the John Burroughs and Christopher medals, and eight works of fiction, including Light Action in the Caribbean, Field Notes, and Resistance. His essays are collected in two books, Crossing Open Ground and About This Life. He contributes regularly to Granta, The Georgia Review, Orion, Outside, The Paris Review, Manoa and other publications in the United States and abroad. His work has appeared in dozens of anthologies, including Best American Essays, Best Spiritual Writing, and the “best” collections from National Geographic, Outside, The Georgia Review, The Paris Review and other periodicals.
His most recent book is Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape, a reader’s dictionary of regional landscape terms, which he edited with Debra Gwartney.
He has been the Welch Professor of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame and the Glenn Distinguished Professor at Washington & Lee, has taught fiction at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and travels regularly to Texas Tech University where he is the university’s Visiting Distinguished Scholar.
Among his many awards, Lopez has been the recipient of the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the John Hay Medal, Guggenheim, Lannan, and National Science Foundation fellowships, and Pushcart Prizes in fiction and nonfiction. In 2004, he was elected a Fellow of The Explorers Club, and in 2011 the Association of American Geographers named him 2011 Honorary Geographer. Other honorees have included John McPhee, Barbara Kingsolver, and Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman.