Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing

Rick Bass

Creative Nonfiction, Fiction
Rick Bass Author Stonecoast MFA Faculty

Office Location

Stonecoast MFA Office - 98 Bedford Street, Portland, ME 04102


Stonecoast Office: 207-780-4423

Academic Degrees

  • Geology, Utah State University


Rick Bass was born in Fort Worth, Texas, U.S., the son of a geologist and an elementary school teacher. He studied geology at Utah State University. He grew up in Houston and started writing short stories on his lunch breaks while working as a petroleum geologist in Jackson, Mississippi. In 1987, he moved with his wife, the artist Elizabeth Hughes Bass, to the remote Yaak Valley, where he works to protect his home from roads and logging. Rick serves on the board of both the Yaak Valley Forest Council and Save the Yellowstone Grizzly. He continues to give readings, write, and teach around the country and world. 

Rick Bass’ fiction has received O. Henry Awards, numerous Pushcart Prizes, awards from the Texas Institute of Letters (in fiction, creative nonfiction, and journalism categories), fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lyndhurst Foundation, the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters, a Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, nominations for Pacific Northwest Booksellers Awards, and a Pen/Nelson Algren Special Citation, which was judged by Robert Penn Warren, and a General Electric Younger Writer’s Award.

He has had numerous stories anthologized in Best American Short Stories: The Year’s Best. The Wild Marsh: Four Seasons At Home in Montana (Houghton Mifflin/Harcourt), a book about fathering daughters in the wilderness, has been excerpted in O, The Oprah Magazine. His nonfiction has been anthologized in Best American Spiritual Writing, Best Spiritual Writing, and Best American Travel Writing, and Best American Science Writing. Various of his books have been named New York Times as well as Los Angeles Times Notable Books of the Year, and a New York Times Best Book of the Year. A collection of short fiction, The Hermit’s Story, was named a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year, and another collection, The Lives of Rocks, was a finalist for the prestigious Story Prize, as well as a Best Book of the Year by the Rocky Mountain News. His most recent nonfiction book, Why I Came West, was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award.

He is the recipient of a 2011 Montana Arts Council Artist’s Innovation Award and the Governor’s Award in the Arts. His 2016 story collection, For A Little While, won the Story Prize. He has collaborated on a music and spoken word album with the Missoula band, Stellarondo, and has co-produced short films on the need to protect the last 20 grizzly bears in northwest Montana’s Yaak Valley.

His stories, articles and essays have appeared in The Paris Review, The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Narrative, Men’s Journal, Esquire, Gentlemen’s Quarterly, Harper’s, New York Times Sunday Magazine, Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, Boston Globe, the Washington Post, Tin House, Zoetrope, Orion, LitHub, and numerous other periodicals. He has written album liner notes for The Drive-By Truckers and profiles of John Prine and James McMurtry, among others. He is at work on a multi-media venture, The Montana Project., which is the subject of an essay in Freeman’s issue #6, on Change. (“The Guitar”).

Recent Publications

The Ninemile Wolves, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Winter: Notes from Montana, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Colter: The True Story of the Best Dog I Ever Had Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The Watch: Stories, W. W. Norton & Company

The Lost Grizzlies, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 

The Book of Yaak, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Where the Sea Used to Be, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The Traveling Feast: Little, Brown

For A Little While: New and Selected Stories, Little, Brown

Fortunate Son, (2021), University of New Mexico Press

Professional Activity

Rick Bass has taught at the North Cascades Institute, Bread Loaf, Writers at Work, Squaw Valley, Key West Literary Seminar, the Loft Literary Center, Interlochen Arts Academy, the 92nd Street YWCA, and dozens of others. He has been the Kittredge Chair in Environmental Humanities at the University of Montana, the Kittredge Chair in Creative Writing at University of Montana Writer in Residence at Montana State University, Boise State, Depauw, Beloit College, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, The University of Texas, and several others.