During his lifetime, Wallace Stegner (1909-1993) became famous for his prizewinning fiction and autobiographical works; his dedication to environmental causes; and his initiation of the creative writing program at Stanford University that bears his name. His most celebrated works, including Angle of Repose, The Spectator Bird, and Crossing to Safety are still much-loved and widely read – even as accusations have emerged that in at least one instance, Stegner appropriated and plagiarized the work of another writer. In this episode, Jacke talks to Melodie Edwards, independent bookstore owner and host of the Peabody-nominated, Murrow-winning podcast The Modern West (produced by Wyoming Public Radio and PRX) about the “dean of American western writing” and his complicated legacy.
Jacke continues the Thursday Theme for November with a look at a genre that began in the nineteenth century and nearly dominated the twentieth: the Western. What happened to western fiction? What was a “classic western” and why did it disappear? And what reinventions of the genre are happening now? Anna North, author of the forthcoming novel Outlawed, joins us to help sort through these questions, and to talk about a reimagined western she admires, C. Pam Zhang’s How Much of These Hills Is Gold.