Writer Profile

Picture of Fred First

Fred First


Fred First
1020 Goose Creek Run N.E.
Check, VA 24072

Short Biography:
Since his earliest years in Birmingham, Alabama, Fred First has called several places home, and all of them have been in the southern Appalachians. An Auburn graduate with a MS in Zoology and an avid naturalist, he first moved to Virginia in 1975 to teach biology at Wytheville Community College.

In a mid-life career change, he earned a masters degree in Physical Therapy and practiced in that field in North Carolina for six years before moving?perma-nently, he says?to Floyd County in 1997. In 2002, his personal focus shifted from what he did for a living to where it was that he lived.

He con-tinues to explore the beauties and perplexities of his rural Blue Ridge valley in words and images, including a daily photo-journal called Fragments from Floyd. Much of his writing and pondering turns to sense of place and belonging, especially as they relate to the Southern Mountains. His current book in progress is a full color book that deals with the "nature gap" and hopes to move parents and other adults to get children engaged with nature in meaningful ways.

Fred is active in his Floyd County community, penning the Road Less Traveled column biweekly for the Floyd Press and another for the new Star-Sentinel in Roanoke. He has served as member of the board at the Jacksonville Center, Floyd?s Center for the Arts. He has spoken in various academic and civic settings at Virginia Tech and Radford University (where he has been adjunct faculty since August 2004). Since the publishing of Slow Road Home, he finds opportunities to speak from and about the book and about writing and nature in libraries, book stores, and for civic organizations including Rotary International, Kiwanis, Lions and the Sierra Club. He has recently recorded his book for Radio Readers service for the visually impaired at the Roanoke NPR station, WVTF, where he is a regular essay contributor.

Nantahala Review / December 2004? / On Eagle Wings

Co-founder of Ecotone: Where Writers Write about Place 2002-2004

Weblog Fragments from Floyd May 2002 to present, frequent nature topics, on 020808 ranked #15 at http://natureblognetwork.com/

"Our Place in the World: A Visual Essay" presentation Audubon, Sierra Club, Kiwanis, Forest Watch of VA etc

Numerous nature-environment related essays on Roanoke NPR WVTF 2002-2007 and in regular biweekly column Road Less Traveled for Floyd Press, Floyd County, Virginia Dec 2004 to present.

Critical Description of Work:
When I think about writing I think about reading: the first word we learned from Dick and Jane was LOOK! My words are almost all wielded as a way to make myself (and possibly a few readers) hold the ordinary things and events of life up to closer scrutiny with the pervasive assumption that there is far more to the subject that appears on the surface. Look! I often write to bring the story from one of my digital images, or conversely, hope to create images in words for those I haven't captured with my camera. Much of what I want to wring from writing is how place impacts our being and thinking and how we in turn impact the places we live. Consequently, I think of myself as a hyper-local folk writer holding the universal always in peripheral vision.