Books in Common NW spends an evening of with two fierce writers of the American West - Pam Houston and Amy Irvine - sharing their recently published collection of letters Airmail.
When the state of Colorado ordered its residents to shelter in place in response to the spread of coronavirus, writers Pam Houston and Amy Irvine--who had never met--began a correspondence based on their shared devotion to the rugged, windswept mountains that surround their homes, one on either side of the Continental Divide. As the numbers of infected and dead rose and the nation split dangerously over the crisis, Houston and Irvine found their letters to one another nearly as necessary as breath. Part tribute to wilderness, part indictment against tyranny and greed, Air Mail: Letters of Politics, Pandemics, and Place reveals the evolution of a friendship that galvanizes as it chronicles a strange new world.
Paired together for Orion magazine's "Together Apart" series of letters from isolation, Pam Houston and Amy Irvine wrote to each other from opposite sides of the Continental Divide as they each sheltered in place in Colorado's high country. The two, who met in person only after publication of Airmail, kept writing--their letters forged a friendship and became Air Mail.
PAM HOUSTON is the author of the memoir, Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country, as well as two novels, Contents May Have Shifted and Sight Hound, two collections of short stories, Cowboys Are My Weakness and Waltzing the Cat, and a collection of essays, A Little More About Me. She teaches in the Low Rez MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, is Professor of English at UC Davis, and cofounder and creative director of the literary nonprofit Writing By Writers. She lives at nine thousand feet above sea level near the headwaters of the Rio Grande.
AMY IRVINE is a sixth-generation Utahn and longtime public lands activist. She is the author of Desert Cabal: A New Season in the Wilderness, a response to Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire. Her memoir, Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land, received the Orion Book Award, the Ellen Meloy Desert Writers Award, and the Colorado Book Award. Irvine teaches in the MFA program of Southern New Hampshire University. She lives and writes in southwest Colorado, just spitting distance from her Utah homeland.