Ben Shattuck

Ben Shattuck, a former Teaching-Writing Fellow and graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, is
a recipient of the PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize and a 2019 Pushcart Prize. He is the
director of the Cuttyhunk Island Writers’ Residency and curator of the Dedee Shattuck Gallery.
His writing can be found in the Harvard Review, The Common, the Paris Review Daily, Lit Hub,
and Kinfolk Magazine. He lives with his wife and daughter on the coast of Massachusetts, where
he owns and runs a general store built in 1793.


  • Resplendent. . . . Echoing Thoreau’s brilliant reflections with his own, Shattuck distills the healing power of nature into a narrative that’s a pure pleasure to wander through. Fans of Annie Dillard will find this mesmerizing.

    —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

  • Poetic. . . . Wistful and meditative, sparked by lovely prose.

    —Kirkus Reviews

  • A gorgeous reminder that walking is the most radical form of locomotion nowadays.

    —Nick Offerman

  • I think Thoreau would have liked this book, and that’s a high recommendation.

    —Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature

  • Walking as means of healing, walking as a way of seeing what’s there,
    walking as a method of pulling you out of yourself and rejoining the
    world—in this beautiful, smart, and moving book, Ben Shattuck shows us
    where putting one foot in front of the other can take us. Thoreau’s
    footsteps serve as map, but Shattuck has made a fresh journey right into
    the heart of things. In painterly prose, he brings us along on his
    walks and proves the best sort of guide: curious, open to the chance
    encounter, deeply attuned to rhythms natural and personal and to the
    strange joys to be found even in periods of pain. Most of all, he
    reminds us, every step of the way, of what’s on offer every time we walk
    out the door.

    —Nina MacLaughlin, author of Summer Solstice: An Essay

  • By walking in Thoreau’s footsteps, Ben Shattuck ends up following the long trail left by wandering thinkers and writers like Rousseau, Muir, Walser, Benjamin, and Solnit. Along the way, Six Walks offers a moving meditation on nature and history—and what our precarious place between these two realms may be.

    —Hernan Diaz, author of In the Distance

  • Inspired by Thoreau, but soon onto something that is very much his own, Ben Shattuck takes us on a journey that bores into the history of both himself and his native New England.  A book of loss and redemption, fear and fragile hope, Six Walks is rich, evocative, and like the boat gunwale that cuts off the tip of his finger, unexpectedly dangerous—in that best of Thoreauvian ways.

    —Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Hurricane’s Eye

  • A beautiful and thought-provoking journey of discovery, which will leave
    you very glad that you walked a while with Ben Shattuck.

    —Eric Jay Dolin, author of Rebels at Sea

  • Ben Shattuck asks of Thoreau ‘Why was it so comforting to read this
    antique account of winter and loss?’—and I felt the same about
    Shattuck’s book. A beautiful account of wandering through a season of
    illness and loss, and walking with Thoreau into the light.

    —Casey Walker, author of Last Days in Shanghai