Susan O’Connor & Annick Smith’s Hearth

Anthology Offers Global Conversation on Community, Identity and Place

Books & Writers


Hearth: Annick Smith & Susan O'Connor
Cherished writers explore community, identity and place in new anthology.

Hearth, a multicultural anthology edited by Montanans Susan O’Connor and Annick Smith, explores the enduring importance and shifting associations of the hearth in our world.

A hearth is many things: a place for solitude; a source of identity; something we make and share with others; a history of ourselves and our homes. It is, in short, the perfect metaphor for what we seek in these complex and contradictory times – set in flux by climate change, mass immigration, the refugee crisis, and the dislocating effects of technology.

Featuring original contributions from cherished voices – including Terry Tempest Williams, Bill McKibben, Pico Iyer, Natasha Trethewey, Luis Alberto Urrea, and Chigozie Obioma – Hearth suggests that empathy and storytelling hold the power to unite us when we have wandered alone for too long. Alexandra Fuller calls the anthology “powerful medicine for our time,” as it challenges readers to redefine home and hearth as a place to welcome strangers, be generous, and care for the world beyond one’s own experience.

“Some of my favorite people on Earth are in this book, dear writers and grand spirits,” writes Annie Dillard.

Essayist, author, and short-story writer Barry Lopez wrote the foreword. He’s the author of Arctic Dreams, which won the National Book Award, Of Wolves and Men, a National Book Award finalist, and numerous other works of fiction and nonfiction.

Smith, who lives east of Missoula, is the author of several books, including HomesteadIn This We Are NativeBig Bluestem, and most recently, Crossing the Plains with Bruno. She is also the editor of Headwaters: Montana Writers on Water & Wilderness, and co-editor of the beloved Montana anthology, The Last Best Place. This is her second collaboration with Missoula environmental and arts advocate O’Connor; they also co-edited The Wide Open: Prose, Poetry, and Photographs of the Prairie.