- For other people with the same or similar name, see William Dietrich.
(1951) is a novelist, non-fiction author, journalist, and college professor. His historical novels and thrillers have made bestseller lists and his Ethan Gage series, set during the Napoleonic wars, have sold in 28 languages. He has also written novels set during the Roman empire, Antarctica, and Australia. His non-fiction works are natural history and environmental history of the Pacific Northwest.
Dietrich was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington, and attended Fairhaven College at Western Washington University, graduating with a degree in journalism. He worked for several Pacific Northwest newspapers and Gannett News Service. In 1990 while at the Seattle Times, he shared a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting on the Exxon Valdez oil spill. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University (1987—88) and won National Science Foundation fellowships to Antarctica in 1994 and 1996. He reported extensively on science and the environment. His first book, The Final Forest,
depicted the old growth and spotted owl battle in Forks, WA. The book won the Washington Governor Writer's Award and Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award. He wrote a book on the Columbia River, Northwest Passage,
a book on Northwest plants and animals, Natural Grace,
and did the text for the Art Wolfe photography book, On Puget Sound.
His first novel, the World War II adventure Ice Reich,
grew out of his reporting in Antarctica. This was followed by Getting Back,
an eco-fable set in Australia, Dark Winter,
a thriller at the South Pole, and Hadrian's Wall
and The Scourge of God,
set during the Roman empire. Most recent are the Ethan Gage series of novels: Napoleon's Pyramids, The Rosetta Key, The Dakota Cipher,
and The Barbary Pirates.
Since 2006 he has been a professor of environmental journalism and writing at Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University, where he advises Planet magazine. He currently lives with his wife Holly in Washington, United States. He has two grown daughters.