Blue Ocean Institute

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Peter Matthiessen – Board Member

Honorary Board member Peter Matthiessen has authored over 20 works of historical fiction and non-fiction over the past 50 years. His writing addresses the destructive effects of technology on both preindustrial cultures and the natural environment. He is among but a few American authors to be nominated for National Book Awards in both fiction and nonfiction. In 1953 he helped George Plimpton, Harold L. Humes, Thomas Guinzburg and Donald Hall to found the literary magazine The Paris Review. In 1974 he was named to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Matthiessen’s 1965 novel, At Play in the Fields of the Lord, was made into a major Hollywood film in 1991. In 1979, his nonfiction book The Snow Leopard – also a 1978 best seller – won the Contemporary Thought category of the National Book Award. Most recently, in his 2008 book Shadow Country, he achieved his original vision for the fiction trilogy of Killing Mr. WatsonLost Man’s River, and Bone by Boneby combining them into a single work. The book has received much critical acclaim.

Matthiessen published his first story while attending Yale, and graduated in 1950. His interest in writing about new places and experiences has led him around the world – from the Amazon to Tibet to East Africa. He is a naturalist and a sensei of Zen Buddhism. He currently lives in Sagaponack, New York with his wife, Maria.