Peter Matthiessen Photo

Peter Matthiessen

Born: May 22, 1927

Death: Apr 5, 2014

Birthplace: New York City

Profession: Writer

Nationality: United States

Peter Matthiessen

Date of Birth : May 22, 1927
Date of Death : Apr 5, 2014
Birth Place : New York City

Peter Matthiessen was an American novelist, naturalist, wilderness writer and CIA agent. A co-founder of the literary magazine The Paris Review, he was a three-time National Book Award winner. He was also a prominent environmental activist. His nonfiction featured nature and travel, notably The Snow Leopard and American Indian issues and history, such as a detailed and controversial study of the Leonard Peltier case, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse. His fiction was adapted for film: the early story "Travelin' Man" was made into The Young One by Luis Bunuel and the novel At Play in the Fields of the Lord into the 1991 film of the same name. In 2008, at age 81, Matthiessen received the National Book Award for Fiction for Shadow Country, a one-volume, 890-page revision of his three novels set in frontier Florida that had been published in the 1990s. According to critic Michael Dirda, "No one writes more lyrically [than Matthiessen] about animals or describes more movingly the spiritual experience of mountaintops, savannas, and the sea." Matthiessen was treated for acute leukemia for more than a year. His death came as he awaited publication of his final novel, In Paradise on April 8.


  • Writer
  • Author
  • Novelist


  • Alex Matthiessen

Awards Won

  • National Book Award for Fiction
  • National Book Award for Contemporary Thought
  • National Book Award for General Nonfiction (Paperback)
  • Helmerich Award
  • James Fenimore Cooper Prize
  • Ambassador Book Award for Fiction
  • Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award
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