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Kurt Caswell was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, and grew up in the Cascade Range in Oregon. He has worked as a teacher in Hokkaido, Japan, on the Navajo Reservation, and at schools in Arizona, California, and Wyoming.


He holds an MA in English from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College, and an MFA in literature and creative writing from Bennington College, where he was recipient of the Lucy Grealy Memorial Scholarship.

Caswell is the author of five books of nonfiction, most recently, the first volume of Walking the Islands titled Iceland Summer: Travels along the Ring Road (2023), with thirty-five full-color illustrations by artist Julia Oldham. Walking the Islands joins a growing number of acclaimed books in the relatively new genre of graphic nonfiction. Laika’s Window: The Legacy of a Soviet Space Dog (2018), which tells the story of the first animal to orbit the Earth, won a Foreword Indie Silver Medal for science writing. His other books are: Getting to Grey Owl: Journeys on Four Continents (2015); In the Sun’s House: My Year Teaching on the Navajo Reservation (2009); and An Inside Passage (2009), which won the 2008 River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Book Prize, and a Texas Tech University President’s Book Award. His essays, stories, and reviews have appeared in American Literary Review, High Country News, Los Angeles Review of Books, Ninth Letter, Orion, Prairie Schooner, River Teeth,, and other publications. Among his honors are eight nominations for the Pushcart Prize, and fellowships at Fishtrap writers’ conference and the MacDowell Colony. He is co-editor with James Perrin Warren of Going to See: 30 Writers on Nature, Inspiration, and the World of Barry Lopez (2024).

He has taught in the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is professor of creative writing and literature in the Honors College at Texas Tech University, where he teaches writing, literature, and intensive field courses on rivers and trails in the US and abroad.

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