June 2014 Event - Wallace Stegner

Thursday, Jun 12, 2014

On Thursday, June 12th, Swan's Fine Books hosted about 35 customers and friends for an informal discussion on Wallace Stegner.   James Dourgarian, Bookman, ABAA, who knew Wallace Stegner personally, shared many memories of visits he made to Mr. Stegner's home during the twelve years Jim knew Mr. Stegner before his death in 1993. "He was a great man", Jim stated. His literary accomplishments, including being awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1972 (Angle of Repose) and the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction in 1977 (The Spectator Bird), his environmental efforts, the students he coached, and his kindness to others all added up to a remarkable man.   Wallace Stegner's work was colored by his life experiences - as Jim warned the group, watch what you say when in the presence of a writer, as it's likely to appear in print someday. Wallace Stegner's early life was marked by many family moves, at one point living for ten years (in a dozen different locations) in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mr. Stegner would late use much information from his early life in his booksMormon Countyand the semi-autobiographical workThe Big Rock Candy Mountain. Always most comfortable around women, Wallace Stegner had a special place in his heart and soul for them. Partly due to the abandonment of his mother by his father when she experienced a resurgence of breast cancer (an event for which he never forgave his father), many of his most memorable protagonists were women who in some cases were also battling breast cancer, and he had the ability to see many aspects of life with a woman's eye and understanding.   Wallace Stegner has left a legacy that will endure: in his written words, the creative writing program at Stanford University (which he founded), and the many awards and programs named for him, he has left an indelible print on 20th-century literature.