Toby Thompson on Western Art

Essayist and educator Toby Thompson returns to Livingston with his new collection, Fired On: Targeting Western American Art, on Thursday, June 11 at 7 p.m., with a live-streaming reading and discussion on Elk River Books’ Facebook page.

The third in a trilogy of collected nonfiction, personal essays and profiles, Fired On joins Thompson’s Riding the Rough String and Metroliner in charting his long and varied career in American letters. For more than 40 years, Thompson has been preoccupied with Western art and those who create it. From early works by Carl Bodmer and Paul Kane to Charles M. Russell and Fredrick Remington to modern masters like Russell Chatham and T. C. Cannon, Thompson considers three centuries’ worth of art in Western America. This anthology includes pieces previously published as well as essays written specifically for this collection. This book’s title comes from a 1907 oil painting by Frederic Remington.

“This is an eclectic book,” notes Thompson, “comprised of brief lives and random asides, saloon tributes and artist profiles, book and music notices. The earliest was written in 1983, the latest in 2019.”

Thompson is the author of five previous books of nonfiction: Positively Main Street: Bob Dylan’s Minnesota, Saloon, The ’60s Report, Riding the Rough String: Reflections on the American West, and Metroliner – Passages: Washington to New York. He has published articles in Vanity Fair, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Outside, Men’s Journal, Gray’s Sporting Journal, GQ, Playboy, The New York Times and many other publications. He teaches nonfiction writing in the creative writing program at Penn State.

To view the event, navigate to Facebook.com/ElkRiverBooks at 7 p.m. on June 11. You do not have to have a Facebook account in order to watch.

Fired On, as well as other Thompson titles, will be available for purchase online from Elk River Books before, during and after the event at shop.elkriverbooks.com. Thompson will sign copies for those readers who desire it, and Elk River will provide both pickup and delivery options.

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