Americas

Friday 1 August 2014

US author Peter Matthiessen dies

Published 06/04/2014|10:02

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FILE - Writer Peter Matthiessen stands in the yard of his house in Sagaponack, N.Y. in this Oct. 28, 2004 file photo. Matthiessen, award-winning author of more than thirty books, world-renowned naturalist, explorer, Buddhist teacher, and political activist, died Saturday, April 5, 2014 after an illness of some months,according to his publisher Geoff Kloske of Riverhead Books. He was 86.  (AP Photo/Ed Betz, File)
FILE - Writer Peter Matthiessen stands in the yard of his house in Sagaponack, N.Y. in this Oct. 28, 2004 file photo. Matthiessen, award-winning author of more than thirty books, world-renowned naturalist, explorer, Buddhist teacher, and political activist, died Saturday, April 5, 2014 after an illness of some months,according to his publisher Geoff Kloske of Riverhead Books. He was 86. (AP Photo/Ed Betz, File)

US writer Peter Matthiessen, produced such acclaimed works as The Snow Leopard and At Play In The Fields Of The Lord, has died aged 86.

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His publisher Geoff Kloske of Riverhead Books said Matthiessen, who had been diagnosed with leukaemia, was ill "for some months".

He died yesterday at a hospital near his home on Long Island in New York.

Matthiessen helped found The Paris Review, one of the most influential literary magazines, and won National Book Awards for The Snow Leopard, his spiritual account of the Himalayas, and for Shadow Country.

His new novel, In Paradise, is scheduled for publication Tuesday.

A leading environmentalist and wilderness writer, he embraced the best and worst that nature could bring him, whether trekking across the Himalayas, fending off sharks in Australia or enduring a hurricane in Antarctica.

Matthiessen was born in New York in 1927, the son of Erard A Matthiessen, a wealthy architect and conservationist.

"The Depression had no serious effect on our well-insulated family," the author would later write.

While at Yale, he wrote the short story Sadie, which appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, and he soon acquired an agent.

After graduation he moved to Paris and, along with fellow writer-adventurer George Plimpton, helped found The Paris Review.

In 1961, Matthiessen emerged as a major novelist with At Play In The Fields Of The Lord, his tale of missionaries under siege from both natives and mercenaries in the jungles of Brazil.

The book was later adapted into a film of the same name, starring John Lithgow and Daryl Hannah.

Matthiessen was married three times, most recently to Maria Eckhart, whom he wed in 1980. He had four children, two each from his first two marriages.

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