the Governor's Arts Award Winners

William deBuys

El Valle

2017 recipient, Artist, Writing/Literature

William deBuys is an internationally recognized author and conservationist, who has worked throughout his lengthy literary career to celebrate New Mexico's distinctive peoples and landscapes. The celebrated author, who has lived in New Mexico since 1972, describes his writing process as trying to "capture the wonderful complexity of this thing that we call life and communicate that complexity and the sense of wonder that comes with it, the sense of passion and commitment, the desire to change it, and yet the obligation to celebrate it as it is."

The writings of deBuys have garnered numerous awards, and one of his books focused on New Mexico - River of Traps: A New Mexico Mountain Life - was a finalist for the 1991 Pulitzer Prize. "He is one of a small handful of authors I have worked with whose prose is so polished that it could go straight to the printer without any editorial work," said Elizabeth C. Hadas, Director Emerita of University of New Mexico Press. "I know of no other writer whose work on New Mexico is so broad and deep with appeal to so many audiences. His work transcends categories."

Jack Loeffler, who received a Governor's Arts Award in 2008, called deBuys "one of New Mexico's greatest human treasures." "One of William deBuys' most compelling characteristics is that he practices what he articulates in his writing." Loeffler said. "For over four decades, he has tended his own farm and ranchland in rural northern New Mexico. ... He is deeply aware of the wealth of perspective that is retained in the various human cultures indigenous to New Mexico, and has worked hand in hand with people of the land both to glean their inherent wisdom, and to present their voices to the wider cultural audience."