UM Announces 2015 First-Year Reading Experience Book

July 16, 2015

MISSOULA – The University of Montana has selected “The Tiger” by award-winning author John Vaillant as the 2015 First-Year Reading Experience book.

All first-year students at UM are invited to participate in the First-Year Reading Experience. The program provides incoming freshmen with a shared intellectual experience to encourage discussion, advance critical thinking and develop a sense of community.

“The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival” details the hunt for a man-eating Amur tiger in the remote Primorye region of Russia’s eastern border in the 1990s. The nonfiction work was published in 2010 and addresses conservation and natural resources; culture and place; and the human-environment relationship, among other themes.

“The Tiger” earned the British Columbia National Award for Canadian Nonfiction, CBC Book Award for “Best Overall Book,” Hubert Evans Nonfiction Prize, Banff Mountain Festival Special Jury Award, CBA Libris Award for Nonfiction, Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award and Prix Nicolas Bouvier. In 2014, Vaillant received a Donald Windham-Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prize in Nonfiction.

The book will be used and referenced in classes across campus. The book is available for purchase at The Bookstore at UM, located in the University Center.

Vaillant will speak about his book to the campus community at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9, in the Dennison Theatre. He also will hold a special Q-and-A forum for first-year students at 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, in the UC Theater.

Vaillant is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, National Geographic, and Outside, among others. His first book, “The Golden Spruce,“ was a best-seller and won several awards, including the Governor General’s Award for Nonfiction (Canada). His latest book, a novel, is “The Jaguar’s Children.”

UM freshmen are invited to participate in a writing contest based on the book and interactions with the author during his campus visit.

For more information, visit or email UM’s First-Year Reading Experience Chair Megan Stark at

Contact: Megan Stark, undergraduate services and outreach librarian, 406-243-2864,