Writing the Wild: Sharman Apt Russell in Conversation with Priyanka Kumar, What Walks This Way

Friday, September 13, 2024 - 6:00pm

We are happy to welcome Sharman Apt Russel for a reading and signing of her new book, What Walks This Way: Discovering the Wildlife Around Us Through Their Tracks and Signs. Sharman will be in conversation with Priyanka Kumar as part of our Writing the Wild event series with the Leopold Writing Program.

"As someone who dreams about the wildlife crisscrossing my neighborhood--and the continent-- What Walks This Way is the marvelous book I have been waiting for. Sharman Apt Russell's lucid and engaging voice helps us decipher wildlife tracks while greatly enriching our lexicon of the natural world."--Priyanka Kumar, author of Conversations with Birds

"What a satisfying book--it makes me want to grab a pack and head out the door. Sharman Apt Russell brings a tracker's eye to the lives of wild animals, illuminating signs she finds with a curated wealth of natural history. With language as clear as fresh deer tracks in snow, she answers the important questions: why skunks are striped, how to tell a coyote's prints from a dog's, and what drives a species toward or away from extinction. Readers who rarely look at the ground will have a hard time looking back up, and those familiar with tracking will be surprised by what they learn." --Craig Childs, author of Stone Desert

Did a red fox pass this way? Could that be a bobcat print there in the dirt? Do those tracks belong to a domestic dog or a coyote? Combining lyrical memoir with an introduction to wildlife tracking, What Walks This Way explores the joys of learning to recognize the traces of the creatures with whom we share our world.

The nature writer Sharman Apt Russell tells stories of her experiences tracking wildlife--mostly mammals, from mountain lions to pocket mice--near her home in New Mexico, with lessons that hold true across North America. With wit and compassion, she guides readers through the basics of identifying tracks and signs, revealing a landscape filled with the marks left by browsing deer, predatory weasels, and inquisitive bears, skunks, and raccoons. Closely observing these traces, Russell also finds community, a sense of place, and a renewed connection with the nonhuman world. She explores the health of mammal populations in North America and questions common wildlife-management practices, calling for new approaches that better reflect current understandings of ecology. Above all, What Walks This Way is a celebration of all the wild animals secretly, stubbornly, and triumphantly roving through our cities, suburbs, and countryside.

Sharman Apt Russell teaches at the low-residency MFA program at Antioch University in Los Angeles and is a professor emeritus at Western New Mexico University. She is the author of a dozen books and winner of the 2016 John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Natural History Writing.

Priyanka Kumar is the author of Conversations with Birds. Her essays and criticism appear in The New York TimesThe Washington Post, the Los Angeles Review of BooksThe Huffington Post, and High Country News. She is a recipient of the Aldo & Estella Leopold Writing Residency, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Award, a New Mexico/New Visions Governor's Award, a Canada Council for the Arts Grant, an Ontario Arts Council Literary Award, and an Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Fellowship. A graduate of the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts and an alumna of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Kumar wrote, directed and produced the feature documentary The Song of the Little Road, starring Martin Scorsese and Ravi Shankar. Kumar has taught at the University of California Santa Cruz and the University of Southern California, and serves on the Board of Directors at the Leopold Writing Program.

Event address: 
4022 Rio Grande Blvd NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107
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What Walks This Way: Discovering the Wildlife Around Us Through Their Tracks and Signs By Sharman Apt Russell Cover Image
ISBN: 9780231215992
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Columbia University Press - September 10th, 2024

Conversations with Birds By Priyanka Kumar Cover Image
ISBN: 9781639550807
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Milkweed Editions - September 12th, 2023