Rediscover: Chris Santella

Chris Santella, outdoor enthusiast and creator of the Fifty Places series, died on May 23 after a battle with cancer. He was 61. Santella turned his greatest recreational passion--fly fishing--into a successful book, which in turn became a successful series of books published by Abrams. Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die came out in 2004 and was followed by 18 other Fifty Places books, focused on golfing, camping, paddling, drinking beer, and more. The books were based on interviews Santella conducted with experts who discussed their favorite places.

He also published a children's picture book, Biking with Grandma, in 2022 with Abrams Books for Young Readers; other fly-fishing books; and a natural science book--Cat Wars--with Princeton University Press in 2016. His first novel, Belgian Flats, about a fly-fishing guide who becomes manager of a salmon lodge in Russia, is due out in August from Lyons Press. His final book, Fifty Places to Travel Solo, will be published in October.

Abrams publisher Michael Sand said, "We are deeply saddened by Chris's passing. Abrams has proudly been Chris's publishing home for nearly 20 years. All his Fifty Places books--and perhaps most poignantly his final title, Fifty Places to Travel Solo--reflect Chris's passion for travel, adventure, and discovery. His entire body of work spanning locales and landscapes around the world will forever be a legacy to the joy of living life to the fullest."

On Trout Unlimited, Kirk Deeter posted: "The fly-fishing world is a little bit less 'adventurous,' and quite a bit less 'literary' now, because we recently lost one of the purest, most inspiring writing voices the sport has ever known. Chris Santella gracefully succumbed to cancer at the age of 61 on May 23. I chose those words carefully, because Santella never 'lost' anything--he fought... he won... he taught... he inspired... and most important, he was a role model, a great friend and one of the most genuinely caring people I've ever had the honor of knowing and working with. I know many others who feel just the same way."

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