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Meet the Author

September 26, 2023
6:30 pm

Tom Montgomery Fate | The Long Way Home

@ Beaverdale Books

In a world of shortcuts, a book that embraces the long way.

A travel memoir that ventures from his smalltown upbringing to vastly different cultures around the globe, Tom Montgomery Fate comes to define “home” not as a physical location, but as a way of belonging. “Migrating birds have an internal compass that allows them to home their way back to their nesting place each spring,” he writes. “For birds, home is both verb and noun—both journey and destination.” The same is true for Fate. Whether he is bobbing in a canoe in the freezing rain with his son on a Canadian lake, praying with Lakota elders in a sweat lodge in South Dakota, or teaching English in a remote Filipino village, these are not stories of arrival. They are detours of discovery, a spiritual wayfinding through the wilderness of time and memory.

Early Praise for The Long Way Home:

Scott Russell Sanders on The Long Way Home: “Tom Montgomery Fate offers us a testament of devotion—to family, social justice, the unsung midwestern landscape, and the wisdom housed in books. His own book adds to that wisdom, harvesting insights from a lifetime of inner and outer travels. Each essay is a vivid episode in his quest, a venturing out to places that test his character and mold his conscience, followed by a return home, his vision renewed. Traveling with him as readers, we may learn to see our own homeplaces afresh.”—Scott Russell Sanders, author of The Way of the Imagination

In thoughtful and graceful prose, Tom Montgomery Fate offers us a valuable perspective on what it means to journey, not as a tourist, but as a traveler, someone unsure of where he is going. The book is a worthy exploration of poet William Stafford’s question: “Is there a way to be gone and still belong? Travel that takes you home?”—Kathleen Norris, author of Acedia and Me and Dakota

Tom Montgomery Fate’s writing represents the best of what creative nonfiction can be—beautiful, compassionate, and deeply urgent. Whether gently holding his parents in the midst of their dementia or listening to rainfall in the Philippines or fishing with his son in Canada, Tom draws closer the spiritual threads that link us to one another and to the earth, our shared home.  Inside such a faith, with all its necessary doubts, we may yet find, as he states it, ‘the knowledge and courage to follow what we love, and to believe it will lead us where we need to go.’  This book, in these troubled times, guides us nearer that hoped-for destination. —John T. Price, author of All is Leaf: Essays and Transformations

About the Author

Tom Montgomery Fate is the author of five books of nonfiction, including Beyond the White Noise (1997), a collection of essays, Steady and Trembling (2005), a spiritual memoir, and Cabin Fever (2011), a nature memoir. His essays have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, The Baltimore Sun, Orion, Iowa Review, Fourth Genre, Riverteeth, Sojourners, Christian Century, and many other journals and anthologies; and they regularly air on National Public Radio and Chicago Public Radio. A graduate of the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa, and of Chicago Theological Seminary, he is currently a professor of English at College of DuPage, in suburban Chicago, where he also lives. He and his wife Carol have three children.

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