By Brian Thompson, Ozark Society President

The Ozark Society Foundation has selected Letters to Dan: A Philosophical Guide to the Ozarks by Fayetteville, Arkansas-based writer and photographer Don House for the Sassafras Award for Excellence in Environmental Writing. The award includes a $3,000 prize and publication of the new book. You can get it now at the Ozark Society Store:

Letters to Dan includes personal essays and photographs that reflect the Ozark region’s heritage and modern culture. Finalist judge for the award, Davis McCombs, called Letters to Dan “a rare and remarkable book.”

McCombs, Director of the Program in Creative Writing and Translation at the University of Arkansas and a former park ranger at Mammoth Cave National Park, described Letters to Dan:

“Like the lens of the author’s camera, the writing throughout this extraordinary book is trained unwaveringly and lovingly on the hills, rivers, cemeteries, old churches, small-town diners, people, plants, and animals of the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. Each essay—in its understated, eloquent way—speaks to the wonder and complexity of the natural world and to the interconnectedness of all life. The authenticity and urgency of this message is woven deep into the fibers of the writing. Behind each word lies the authority of a lifetime of observation and insight.”

The Ozark Society Foundation established the Sassafras Award to encourage innovative writing and new perspectives of nature and conservation as well as new voices and the expression of contemporary environmental experiences. House’s book is the first awarding of the prize. The book is available to the public through the Ozark Society, the University of Arkansas Press, and other booksellers.

There will be a reception promoting the book on March 26th from 2:00 to 4:00 PM at the Fayetteville Public Library. Don House will do a reading and book signing. Mark your calendars for this great event.