Powell’s Books has funded a $3,000 annual Michael M. Powell Fellowship, in honor of Michael Powell. Powell’s fellows receive $3000 to support original research projects on a Columbia Basin topic that falls within the Center’s initiative, “The Columbia River and the World.”
The first fellowship has been awarded to Spokane teacher, author, and naturalist, Jack Nisbet, who recently won the 2010 Pacific Northwest Book Award. His most recent book, The Collector, describes the journeys of Northwest explorer and Scots-born botanist David Douglas. Nisbet will use the Powell fellowship to expand the global component of his research on Douglas.
The Michael M. Powell Fellowship is named in honor of Michael M. Powell who began his professional life as a commercial fisherman on the Columbia River before he started a bookstore in Chicago, Illinois in 1970. In 1979, Mr. Powell moved to Portland, Oregon to help run his father’s bookstore, Powell’s Books. A single location grew into a number of Portland-area stores, the heart of which is Powell’s City of Books, the largest new and used independent bookstore in the world. It is fitting that a fellowship through which scholars are connected to the general public should be named after a man who once said, “It’s exciting to be a facilitator in the movement of intellectual property, to help deliver an author’s voice from one community to another.”