Peter Matthiessen is an American novelist, naturalist, and wilderness writer. A co-founder of the literary magazine The Paris Review and a three-time National Book Award-winner, he has also been a prominent environmental activist. His nonfiction has featured nature and travelâ€”notably The Snow Leopard -- or American Indian issues and historyâ€”notably a detailed and controversial study of the Leonard Peltier case, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse. His fiction has occasionally been adapted for film: the early story "Travelin' Man" was made into The Young One by Luis BuÃ±uel 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."