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Maxim Loskutoff: “What Montana represents to me is an entire species-wide need to re-evaluate our relationship with the natural world”

Maxim Loskutoff, author of ‘Old King,’ out now from W. W. Norton & Company.
Maxim Loskutoff, author of ‘Old King,’ out now from W. W. Norton & Company.

This week on The Write Question, host Lauren Korn speaks with Maxim Loskutoff about Old King (W. W. Norton & Company). In the summer of 1976, Duane Oshun finds himself stranded in a remote Montana town beset by a series of strange and menacing events. He takes a job as a logger and builds a cabin on an isolated road near a reclusive neighbor—a hermit named Ted Kaczynski. Old King is a novel that wrestles with the birth of the modern environmental movement, the accelerating dominion of technology in American life, and a new kind of violence that lives next door.

About Max:

Raised in small towns in the west, Maxim Loskutoff is the critically acclaimed author of the novel Ruthie Fear and the story collection Come West and See, both winners of the High Plains Book Award. His stories and essays have appeared in numerous periodicals, including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Ploughshares, and GQ. He is a Yaddo and MacDowell fellow. Other honors include the Nelson Algren Award, M Literary Prize, and Montana Innovation Award. He lives in the Rocky Mountains of western Montana.

Maxim Loskutoff recommends:

The Entire Sky by Joe Wilkins (forthcoming; Little, Brown and Company)

Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips (Alfred A. Knopf)

Winter Count by Barry Lopez (Alfred A. Knopf)

There is Happiness: New and Selected Stories by Brad Watson (W. W. Norton & Company)

Wolfish: Wolf, Self, and the Stories We Tell About Fear by Erica Berry (Flatiron Books)

Lauren Korn recommends:

Old King, Ruthie Fear, and Come West and See by Maxim Loskutoff about (W. W. Norton & Company)

When the Bitterroots Beckon: A Conversation with Maxim Loskutoff and DJ Lee,” facilitated by the 2020 Montana Book Festival

Perma Red and The Lost Journals of Sacajewea by Debra Magpie Earling (Milkweed Editions)

Disappearing Earth (Alfred A. Knopf) and Bear (forthcoming; Hogarth Press, Penguin Random House) by Julia Phillips

True West: Myth and Mending on the Far Side of America by Betsy Gaines Quammen (Torrey House Press)

Aligning the Glacier’s Ghost: Essays on Solitude and Landscape by Sarah Capdeville (University of New Mexico Press)

Becoming Little Shell: A Landless Indian’s Journey Home by Chris La Tray (forthcoming, Milkweed Editions)

Holding Fire: A Reckoning with the American West (Mariner Books, HarperCollins) and Badluck Way: A Year on the Ragged Edge of the West (Washington Square Press) by Bryce Andrews

The Write Question team for this episode was Lauren Korn, host, co-producer, and editor; and Chris Moyles, co-producer, editor, and sound engineer. This episode is supported by Fact & Fiction, an independent bookstore located in the heart of downtown Missoula, Montana, providing books for all ages and supporting the literary community in Montana and beyond. More information can be found at

The Write Question logo and brand (2022) was designed by Molly Russell. You can see more of her work at and on Instagram @iamthemollruss. Our music was written and recorded by John Floridis.

Funding for The Write Question comes from Humanities Montana; members of Montana Public Radio; and from the Greater Montana Foundation—encouraging communication on issues, trends, and values of importance to Montanans.

The Write Question is a production of Montana Public Radio.

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Lauren R. Korn holds an M.A. in poetry from the University of New Brunswick, where she was the recipient of the Tom Riesterer Memorial Prize and the Angela Ludan Levine Memorial Book Prize. A former bookseller and the former Director of the Montana Book Festival, she is now an Arts and Culture Producer at Montana Public Radio and the host of it’s literature-based radio program and podcast, ‘The Write Question.’
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