The Center of the American West at the University of Colorado at Boulder announced today it will present its 2009 Wallace Stegner Award to author Tom McGuane, best known for his novels “The Sporting Club,” “The Bushwhacked Piano” and “Ninety-Two in the Shade.”

“Tom McGuane has been a spectacular ‘participant-observer’ in the changing world of the American West,” said Patty Limerick, chair of the board and faculty director of the center. “With equal grace, he reckons with the tragic and comic dimensions of human nature. Looking at the West through his eyes gives your habits of mind a productive shaking.”

The award will be presented to McGuane and Limerick will interview him on his work and the West on Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. in Mathematics Building room 100 on the CU-Boulder campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Each year, the Center of the American West presents the Wallace Stegner Award to an individual who has made a sustained contribution to the cultural identity of the West through literature, art, history, lore or an understanding of the West. In the spirit of Wallace Stegner, an American historian, novelist, short story writer, and environmentalist, often called “the dean of Western writers,” the recipients have demonstrated singular achievement, creativity and dedication to the perception of the West and Western issues, and have communicated to others the importance and uniqueness of the West as a distinct region. In short, the award is presented to those who have faithfully and evocatively depicted the spirit of the American West.

“Preparing for Mr. McGuane’s visit has added a wonderful dimension to my life,” Limerick said. “As I can testify, anyone ushered to the edge of hopelessness by the troubles of the world today can take a quick trip back to seasoned hope by reading his stories and essays.”

McGuane, long considered one of the West’s most important literary figures, is the author of nine novels and two books of short stories including “Panama,” “The Cadence of Grass,” “Gallatin Canyon” and the National Book Award nominee “Ninety-two in the Shade.”

In the 1970s and early 1980s McGuane dipped his foot into the movie business, writing the screenplays for the cult film “Rancho Deluxe” in 1973; a film of his novel “Ninety-Two in the Shade” in 1975; “The Missouri Breaks” in 1976, which starred Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson; and “Tom Horn” in 1980 starring Steve McQueen.

McGuane often uses his writing to express his love for the conservation of wilderness, and as an avid fisherman he has a special place in his heart for the rivers of Montana. He is a supporter of the Wild Salmon Center, American Rivers and the Craighead Wildlife-Wildlands Institute.

McGuane lives on a 3,000-acre ranch in Montana with his wife, Laurie, where they run cattle and raise and train cutting horses.

Patricia Limerick, 303-492-4879
Amber Wilson, 303-492-1408
Oakland L. Childers, 303-492-3117