I am pleased to be considered a nature and science writer, although essentially I write about whatever interests me and seems important--living in place, archaeology, flowers, butterflies, hunger, pantheism. My most recent book, Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing Tiger Beetles and Other New Ways of Engaging the World, focuses on the charismatic Western Red-bellied Tiger Beetle, as well as other citizen projects like Nature's Notebook, Mastodon Matrix, and Celebrate Urban Birds. Citizen science is an amazing world. You can transform yourself in a thousand ways, studying monarch butterflies or listening to whale songs or classifying galaxies...For more information on that, please go to my Facebook author page Sharman Apt Russell.
I am also excited to be returning to children's literature, with a fabulist young adult novel, Teresa of the New World, published this spring, 2015 by Yucca Publishing. In the dreamscape of the sixteenth century American Southwest, Teresa is stalked by Plague--measles as well as smallpox--and must struggle to negotiate her place as the daughter of a Capoque mother and Spanish conquistador. The book is the result of twenty years of obsession--with the story of the real-life conquistador Cabeza de Vaca, with the horrific epidemics of First Contact, with the complexities of the father-daughter relationship. A teacher's guide aligned to Common Core standards for middle-school and high school is available free on my website www.sharmanaptrussell.com.
A little bit of bio: Raised in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona, in 1981 I settled in southern New Mexico as a "back to the lander" and have stayed there ever since. I am a longtime professor in the Humanities Department at Western New Mexico University in Silver City, as well as an associate faculty at Antioch University in Los Angeles. I received my MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Montana and my B.S. in Conservation and Natural Resources from the University of California, Berkeley.
My essays and short stories have been widely published and anthologized and my books translated into over ten languages. My collections of essays Songs of the Fluteplayer: Seasons of Life in the Southwest (Addison-Wesley, 1991; reprinted by University of Nebraska Press, 2000) won the 1992 Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award and New Mexico Zia Award and recounts my early years in rural New Mexico. Standing in the Light: My Life as a Pantheist was a New Mexico Book Award finalist and one of Booklists' top ten religious books of 2008. Hunger: An Unnatural History (Basic Books, 2005) was the result of a Rockefeller Fellowship at Bellagio, Italy, and An Obsession with Butterflies: Our Long Love Affair with a Singular Insect (Perseus Books, 2003) was a pick of independent booksellers in the Summer 2003 Book Sense 76.
As a teacher, my philosophy is simple: my goal is to increase a student's authority as a writer. I am here to encourage and support that authority. I can help students better revise their work. I can teach students how to talk about writing with other writers. I can help them feel more centered in who they are as writers and why they write. I can serve as an editor and mentor. I can model a writer's life. As well as teaching at WNMU and Antioch, for the last fifteen years I have been a visiting writer at universities and colleges across the country.
To contact me, please go to my webpage at www.sharmanaptrussell.com.