Nate Blakeslee

Listen to the interview

Author and journalist Nate Blakeslee  joins us this week. His new book, American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West was released October 17, 2017 by Crown Publishing.

We’re glad you’re here, and thanks for listening to our show. 

Writing On the Air is broadcast each Wednesday from 6-7 pm Central from the KOOP Radio studios in Austin, Texas.  We are heard on 91.7FM KOOP, and online at KOOP.org, TuneIn.com and Radio Free America.   Recent episodes are immediately available on Radio Free America.  

We hope you’ll scroll through our past episodes below. You can download the interviews from each page, or head over to iTunes for our podcast.  Be sure and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for show updates. 

Nate Blakeslee  is senior editor and writer-at-large at Texas Monthly.

His new book is American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West  (Crown Publishing, October 17, 2017), the story of the rise and reign of O-Six, the celebrated Yellowstone wolf, and the people who loved or feared her.  Days after Crown acquired American Wolf, Leonardo DiCapario’s Appian Way Productions picked up the rights with Scott Cooper (Black Mass) set to direct.

Nate’s first book, Tulia (Public Affairs, 2006) was a finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award and won the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, the Texas Institute of Letters non-fiction prize, and was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2005. The Washington Post called it one of the most important books about wrongful convictions ever written. Tulia is in development with Lionsgate with Halle Berry attached to star and Seth Gordon  to direct.

Nate was born and raised in Arlington and has a master’s degree in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, where his field of study was the civil rights movement.  He lives in Austin with his wife and their two children.

In Praise of American Wolf  (Crown Publishing, October 17, 2017)

“Written with heart, but not sentimentality, American Wolf is nothing less than Shakespearean tragedy played out against the backdrop of our troubled relationship with nature.”
J.B. MacKinnon, author of The Once and Future World

 “… [A] startlingly intimate portrait of the intricate, loving, human-like interrelationships that govern wolves in the wild, as observed in real time by a cadre of dedicated wolf-watchers—in the end, a drama of lupine love, care, and grief.”  —Erik Larson, author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake 
 
“Wild, poignant, and compelling, American Wolf is an important, beautifully wrought book about animals, about values, and about living on this earth.” —Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief and Rin Tin Tin
 
“A transcendent tale of the American West.” —S. C. Gwynne, author of Empire of the Summer Moon and Rebel Yell
 
“Gripping and fascinating! Wolf versus wolf, wolf versus man, man versus man.”  —Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale and Hag-Seed (via Twitter)

“Nate Blakeslee has achieved the Jack London-like feat of creating a great story whose main character is an animal.” —Nicholas Lemann, author of The Big Test and Redemption

“Beautiful, detailed… [American Wolf] centers on the rise, reign, and family life of O-Six, matriarch of the Lamar Canyon pack and so well-known to park visitors that the New York Times gave her an obituary.” —Publisher’s Weekly (starred) 

“The fight… [over] Yellowstone’s wolves is embodied in O-Six’s story, told with great immediacy and empathy in a tale that reads like fiction. This one will grab readers and impel them into the heart of the conflict.” Booklist (starred)

“Utterly compelling…. Blakelsee’s masterly use of fiction writing techniques to ratchet up the tension will hook a wide swath of readers.”   —Library Journal (starred)

“The Game of Thrones story of modern western wolves, [unfolding] in just as riveting a fashion. It is an absolutely mesmerizing read.” —Dan Flores, author of Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History

“A well-rendered story… evenhanded but clearly and rightly on the side of the wolves.” Kirkus Reviews

“Gorgeously written, and offering stunning insights into both animal and human nature, American Wolf is a masterly feat of science journalism.” —Michael Finkel, author of The Stranger in the Woods
 

About American Wolf  (Crown Publishing, October 17, 2017)

The enthralling story of the rise and reign of O-Six, the celebrated Yellowstone wolf, and the people who loved or feared her
 
Before men ruled the earth, there were wolves. Once abundant in North America, these majestic creatures were hunted to near extinction in the lower 48 states by the 1920s. But in recent decades, conservationists have brought wolves back to the Rockies, igniting a battle over the very soul of the West.

With novelistic detail, Nate Blakeslee tells the gripping story of one of these wolves, O-Six, a charismatic alpha female named for the year of her birth. Uncommonly powerful, with gray fur and faint black ovals around each eye, O-Six is a kind and merciful leader, a fiercely intelligent fighter, and a doting mother. She is beloved by wolf watchers, particularly renowned naturalist Rick McIntyre, and becomes something of a social media star, with followers around the world.

But as she raises her pups and protects her pack, O-Six is challenged on all fronts: by hunters, who compete with wolves for the elk they both prize; by cattle ranchers who are losing livestock and have the ear of politicians; and by other Yellowstone wolves who are vying for control of the park’s stunningly beautiful Lamar Valley.

These forces collide in American Wolf, a riveting multigenerational saga of hardship and triumph that tells a larger story about the ongoing cultural clash in the West—between those fighting for a vanishing way of life and those committed to restoring one of the country’s most iconic landscapes.Penguin Random House

You can keep up with Nate on Twitter.