“Save The Whales, Screw The Shrimp” – Joy Williams

This is a riveting essay about the wild land, wild animals and wild sky. Ms William’s point is that the wild does not belong in our world anymore, cause, well, we just don’t want it too -it doesn’t fit into our consumer-led way of seeing the world. Wonderfully inventive perspectives draw down our mighty problem and show it to us up close.

This essay was was published in Esquire magazine in 1989 and was chosen for inclusion to the 1990 Best American Essays. The essay is included in her book “Ill Nature” published in 2001.



Biography from Key West Literary Seminar:

11 FEB 1944

Joy Williams is an American author. She has produced numerous short stories and essays, and four novels. Her debut novel, State of Grace (1973), was nominated for a National Book Award for Fiction. The Quick and the Dead (2000) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Her other two novels include The Changeling (1978) and Breaking and Entering (1988). Her essay collection, Ill Nature: Rants and Reflections on Humanity and Other Animals, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism. Williams has also won the Rea Award for Short Story, the Harold and Mildred Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and other prizes.

Born in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, Williams is the daughter of a minister who preached at a Congregational church in Portland. She received a BA from Marietta College and an MFA from the University of Iowa. Williams has taught creative writing at the University of Houston, the University of Florida, the University of Iowa, and the University of Arizona. She was also the writer-in-residence at the University of Wyoming in 2008-2009.

Williams met her first husband, Fred McCormack, when she was at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. They had one daughter, Caitlin. They divorced, and she married Rust Hills, fiction editor at Esquire. He adopted Caitlin and they remained married until his death in 2008. Williams has homes in Tucson and Florida, but divides her time among these homes and her daughter’s homes, and traveling on the road.


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