Terry Tempest Williams
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Red: Passion and
Patience in the Desert


"From naturalist Williams, a powerful and lyrical collection ranging from sudden pieces of fiction and hip-shooting creative non-fictions to manifestos and eroticism, all taking their cues from the American Southwestern deserts."
--Kirkus Reviews

"[RED] includes two of the works that have defined Williams as a central voice in the environmental movement: Desert Quartet, which is made up of simple and erotic personal essays, and Coyote's Canyon, comprised of the lovely tales of desert people. To these she adds pieces that center on her move out of Salt Lake City, her study of the meanings of the color red and, most importantly, the imperative to create national protection for land that cannot protect itself from each step of development and population growth."
--Publishers Weekly

Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert
Pantheon Books
2001, 240pages.

About RED on the Random House/Penguin Books website.

RED: Passion and Patience in the Desert, was published by Pantheon in September, 2001.

Vintage published RED in trade paperback in October, 2002.

Pantheon Books donated several hundred copies of RED: Passion and Patience in the Desert, which were distributed to members of Congress in conjunction with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Citizens of Utah, and across the nation, took time away from work and family to personally meet with their members of Congress, and educate and lobby about the need to designate wilderness. Citizens also lobbied for passage of America's Redrock Wilderness Act, the bill before Congress to designate over 9 million acres as official wilderness in Utah. Some copies of RED were also delivered by SUWA's Washington, D.C. staff.

  • Find out more about America's Redrock Wilderness Act on SUWA's website.

  • The Utah Wilderness Coalition is an assembly of over 200 different groups working together to protect wilderness on public lands in Utah. Visit their website for valuable background information on the management of America's public lands and how to get involved in grassroots activism.


RED: Passion and Patience in the Desert, explores naturalist Terry Tempest Williams's lifelong love of, and commitment to, the desert. Combining her best writing on the terrain she knows so well, with a collection of new essays of great originality and influence, RED brings together the lyrical evocations of her earlier books, Coyote's Canyon and Desert Quartet, with new essays of great power and originality.

RED includes meditations on the astounding rock formations that have haunted Williams's imagination for decades, as well as startling encounters with the face and soul of the desert. And because, for all its intensity and harshness, the desert is among the most fragile of landscapes, it prompts in Williams a fierce commitment to protect it from human forces of destruction. A manifesto calling for a "Coyote Clan"-for people to become quietly subversive on behalf of the land-RED presents a portrait of America's Redrock Wilderness in all its emotional and psychological power.

Terry Tempest Williams has testified before U.S. Congress twice regarding the environmental links associated with cancer, and has been a strong advocate for America's Redrock Wilderness Act, protecting the Redrock Canyons of Southern Utah. In addition, she has served on the Governing Council of the Wilderness Society and is currently on the advisory board of the National Parks and Conservation Association, The Nature Conservancy, and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

The Hour of Land The Story of My Heart When Women Were Birds Finding Beauty in a Broken World Illuminated Desert The Open Space of Democracy Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert LEAP New Genesis: a Mormon Reader on Land and Community Testimony: Writers of the West Speak on Behalf of Utah Wilderness Great and Peculiar Beauty: A Utah Centennial Reader Desert Quartet: An Erotic Landscape An Unspoken Hunger: Stories from the Field Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place Coyote's Canyon Between Cattails Pieces of White Shell Secret Language of Snow