UMW News BureauRick Bass, award-winning environmental writer will read selected works at the fall semester's first "Dances with Words," the university's acclaimed series. By Wally Feldt Award-winning writer and wilderness advocate Rick Bass will be featured at the first installment of the University of Montana Western’s acclaimed “Dances with Words” series. Bass is scheduled to read Thursday, Sept. 10, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. in “The Cup,” the university’s coffee shop located on the lower level of the Swysgood Technology Center. Bass is the author of 23 books including nonfiction nature writing, essay collections, short story collections, novellas and novels, and numerous articles in national publications. In 2006, Rocky Mountain News chose “The Lives of Rocks” as a Best Book of the Year. His stories have also been awarded the Pushcart Prize and O. Henry Award and were included the “The Best American Short Stories.” His autobiography “Why I Came West” was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award. Bass graduated from Utah State University in 1979 with a degree in petroleum geology. He was working in Jackson, Miss. as a gas and oil geologist when he began writing short stories on his lunch breaks. In 1987, he moved to the Yaak Valley of Montana where he still lives with his wife and two daughters. Montana Western’s English department sponsors the Dances with Words series, which is funded by the university and local patrons and features visiting writers and poets. The fall series received additional support through a $1,000 “Opportunity Grant” from Humanities Montana.