Listen now!


  • Craig Childs - Listen now to the 9th annual lecture delivered on 12/10/09.
  • Gary Paul Nabhan - Listen now to the 8th annual lecture delivered on 12/9/08.
  • Luci Tapahonso - Listen now to the 7th annual lecture delivered on 12/6/007.
  • Jimmy Santiago Baca - Listen now to the 6th annual lecture delivered on 12/7/06.

Lifetime Achievement Awards

  • Dr. James S. (Big Jim) Griffith - Listen now - acceptance speech from 12/10/09
  • Dr. Bernard L. "Bunny" Fontana - Listen now - acceptance speech from 12/9/08
  • J.C. Martin - Listen now - acceptance speech from 12/6/07.
  • Winn Bundy - Listen now - acceptance speech from 12/7/06.
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Lawrence Clark Powell Memorial Lecture

About the Lawrence Clark Powell Memorial Lecture

Lawrence Clark Powell

The lecture honors the late Lawrence Clark Powell, librarian, literary critic, prolific author, self-proclaimed "bibliomaniac," and Tucson resident for more than 30 years. Powell helped to found the University of Arizona's School of Library and Information Science in the 1970s. After his death in 2001, the library began celebrating his contributions with the lecture.

In memory of Powell's writings and reverence for the Southwest, the lecture bearing his name is delivered by an author whose breadth of work reflects the values, landscape, history and culture of the region.

In addition to the lecture, the library honors one person with the Lawrence Clark Powell Lifetime Achievement Award for his/her contribution to southwestern letters. This award, sometimes called "The Powie," was first presented in 2002.

The lecture is one of a series of literary events presented in December by the Pima County Public Library's Southwest Literature Project.


Year Lecturer Lifetime Achievement Award
2010 Dr. Ofelia Zepeda Dr. Donald Dickinson
2009 Craig Childs Dr. James S. (Big Jim) Griffith
2008 Gary Paul Nabhan Dr. Bernard L. "Bunny" Fontana
2007 Luci Tapahonso J.C. Martin
2006 Jimmy Santiago Baca Winn Bundy
2005 Richard Shelton Katie Lee
2004 Luis Urrea Byrd Baylor
2003 Patricia Preciado Martin J.P.S. Brown
2002 Charles Bowden Marguerite Noble
2001 Denise Chavez no award


Listen now

Lecturer: Dr. Ofelia Zepeda

Dr. Ofelia Zepeda

Born and raised in Stanfield, AZ, Dr. Zepeda is a member of the Tohono O'odham Nation of southern Arizona. As the author of the first written grammar of the Tohono O'odham, she is considered a foremost authority in Tohono O'odham language and literature. In 1999 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for her work in American Indian language education, maintenance and recovery.

A lifelong desert-dweller with a unique perspective on how profoundly the arid landscape and climate influences daily life, Dr. Zepeda filters her keen observations of the natural world through the cultural lens of the generations of ancestors who went before her. She is the author of three books of poetry: Ocean Power: Poems from the Desert, Jewed I-hoi/Earth Movements, and Where Clouds are Formed. She is the series editor of Sun Tracks, a book series publishing Native American writers, and co-edited Home Places, a celebration of Sun Tracks' twenty years of publication.

Dr. Donald Dickinson

The Lawrence Clark Powell Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: Dr. Donald Dickinson

The Lawrence Clark Powell Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Dr. Donald Dickinson. A figure well-loved by generations of Arizona-educated librarians, Dr. Dickinson arrived in Tucson in 1969 to help establish the UA's graduate library school and serve as its first director. Bibliography, book collecting and the rare book trade are at the core of his research interests, and his book-length publications include a bio-bibliography of the poet Langston Hughes and biographies of the California collector Henry. E. Huntington, and the English rare book dealer John Carter.


Listen now

Lecturer: Critically-acclaimed Author Craig Childs

On Thursday, December 10, 2009, Craig Childs delivered the 9th Annual Lawrence Clark Powell Memorial Lecture. Childs is a critically-acclaimed writer who focuses on natural sciences, archaeology, desert ecology and mind-blowing journeys into the wilderness.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. James S. (Big Jim) Griffith

The Lawrence Clark Powell Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Dr. James S. (Big Jim) Griffith. One of the foremost folklorists in the nation, Griffith ran the University of Arizona's Southwest Folklore Center between 1979 and 1998, hosted a weekly spot called "Southern Arizona Traditions" on KUAT's Arizona Illustrated program, and curated numerous exhibitions of regional art. He is the author of six books on southern Arizona folk arts and, with his wife, Loma, started the Tucson Meet Yourself folklife festival, held annually in October.


Lecturer: Author and World-Renowned Desert Ecologist and Conservation Scientist Gary Paul Nabhan

On Tuesday, December 9, 2008, award-winning author and conservationist, Gary Paul Nabhan, delivered the 8th annual Lawrence Clark Powell Memorial Lecture. He was introduced by Christine Szuter, Director of the University of Arizona Press and associate professor of anthropology at UA. Listen now.

About Dr. Gary Paul Nabhan

Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Bernard L. "Bunny" Fontana

The LCP Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Dr. Bernard L. "Bunny" Fontana, a retired UA Anthropology professor, prolific author and historian, and champion of the Mission St. Xavier del Bac restoration. Listen now.

Dr. Fontana's career documenting and writing about Southwest history and Native Americans spans more than 50 years, with the bulk of it spent at the Arizona State Museum and the University of Arizona.

He is most frequently recognized for his work documenting the restoration of the stunning artwork inside the Mission San Xavier del Bac, including the discoveries of a new angel, La Divina Pastora and the Virgin Mary diapering the baby Jesus.

He will be introduced by Nicholas Bleser, former Parks Service historian at Tumacacori National Historical site, and who has long been involved in the Southwest Mission Research Center, Kino Mission tours.

Dr. Fontana's Contribution to Southwest Letters

Dr. Fontana is author, co-author, editor or co-editor of 23 books and monographs, most of them related to the history and Native Americans of the Southwest. Some of his better-known works include:

He also received the Border Regional Library Association awards for literary excellence for Tarahumara: Where Night is the Day of the Moon (1979) and Of Earth and Little Rain: The Papago Indians (1981).

He has received many awards, most recently the Dr. Richard Carmona Community Service Award of Los Descendientes del Presidio de Tucson (2005), the Luminaria Award of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (1998), and the (1995) Governor's Award for Historic Preservation.

He has also authored more than 150 articles and chapters in books in professional and popular publications about the Southwest.


Lecturer: Luci Tapahonso

On December 6, 2007 Luci Tapahonso delivered the seventh annual Lawrence Clark Powell Memorial lecture. Listen now.

Luci Tapahonso is a professor of American Indian Studies and English at the University of Arizona. Known for her stories of growing up and living on the Navajo Nation in northwest New Mexico, she is the author of five books of poetry as well as three children's books. Her writing expresses her love of the Navajo world and gives readers a new way of understanding themselves and their connections to each other.

Blue Horses Rush In, which received the Mountain and Plains Booksellers Association's 1998 Award for Poetry "...marks a major accomplishment in American literature for its successful blending of Navajo cultural values and forms with the English language, while at the same time retaining the Navajo character," noted the University of Arizona Press.

Tapahonso's recognitions and honors also include the 2006 Lifetime Achievement award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas.

Lifetime Achievement Award: J.C. Martin

Listen now to J.C. Martin's acceptance speech at the seventh annual Lawrence Clark Powell Memorial lecture on December 6, 2007.

Journalist J.C. Martin was honored for her lifetime contribution to southwestern letters.

Currently the author of "Southern Arizona Authors," a monthly column that appears in the Arizona Daily Star, Martin recently retired as coordinator of Southwest Books of the Year - a publication she began nearly 31 years ago as a listing of the year's best books written about the Southwest.


Lecturer: Jimmy Santiago Baca

Jimmy Santiago Baca

You can listen to the lecture given by Jimmy Santiago Baca on December 7, 2006 right here. Listen now.

One of the foremost voices in American literature and poetry, Baca's rags-to-riches writing career began 25 years ago in a most unlikely place - behind bars in Arizona's maximum security prison in Florence.

Then, he was functionally illiterate, serving time in solitary confinement. Today, he is the winner of the Pushcart Prize, the National Book Award for Poetry, the International Hispanic Heritage Award, the International Prize, and has held the Wallace Stevens Endowed Chair, Yale University and the Regents Chair, University of California, Berkeley.

His recent published works include his memoir, A Place to Stand, winner of the prestigious International Award, a collection of short stories entitled The Importance of a Piece of Paper, and Winter Poems Along the Rio Grande.

Today, Baca also conducts writing workshops for children and adults at schools, community centers and correctional facilities. While in Tucson, he conducted workshops at the Tucson Complex of the Arizona State Prison on South Wilmot Road and the Pima County Juvenile Detention Center.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Winn Bundy

Winn Bundy

Winn Bundy - Listen now to Winn Bundy's acceptance speech at the sixth annual Lawrence Clark Powell Memorial lecture on December 7, 2006.

Winn Bundy, owner of the Singing Wind Bookshop in Benson, Arizona, received the 2006 Lawrence Clark Powell Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to southwestern letters.

Bundy's bookshop has been a destination for lovers of Southwestern literature since 1974, when she set up shop in an alcove of her Benson-area cattle ranch. Over time her "book stock" has grown to tens of thousands of titles. Her reputation for shelving a rich representation of southwestern authors and regional topics draws avid readers from around the world.

Bundy holds master's degrees in history and library science from the University of Arizona. She credits her friend, Lawrence Clark Powell - librarian, literary critic, prolific author, self-proclaimed "bibliomaniac" and Tucson resident for 30 years - for nurturing her love of books and literature.

Thanks to Our Sponsors

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The Lawrence Clark Powell Memorial Lecture is made possible by a generous gift from the Friends of the Pima County Public Library, with additional support from the Arizona Historical Society.

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