Book & Paper Awards


ASLE has established book and graduate student paper awards in the areas of ecocriticism and environmental creative writing; the first awards were given at the 2007 Biennial Conference held at Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC.  The most recent awards were given at the 2013 conference held at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS. A description of the winning works is below.

The next ASLE book awards will be presented at the Eleventh Biennial Conference, to be held at the University of Idaho from June 23-27, 2015. Those awards will be for books published by ASLE and affiliated members in 2013 and 2014.  Please see the posted guidelines for below for general instructions on how to submit your work for consideration. New submission contacts apply, see below.

New Awards Co-Coordinators for 2015:

Environmental Creative Writing Book Award:
Christoph Irmscher, Indiana University Bloomington

Ecocriticism Book Award:
Salma Monani, Gettysburg College

Graduate Student Papers Awards:
Nicholas Bradley, University of Victoria



2015 Book Awards Submission Information

2015 Graduate Student Paper Awards Submission Information



Environmental Creative Writing Book Award  

David Gessner (University of North Carolina, Wilmington), The Tarball Chronicles: A Journey Beyond the Oiled Pelican and into the Heart of the Gulf Oil Spill, Milkweed Press, 2011. 

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Lisa Knopp (University of Nebraska, Omaha) for What the River Carries: Encounters with the Mississippi, Missouri, and Platte, University of Missouri Press, 2012.  Amy Espeseth (University of Melbourne) for Sufficient Grace, Scribe, 2012. 

Judges: Jeffrey Thomson (University of Maine, Farmington); Janine DeBaise (SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse); and Bernie Quetchenbach (Montana State University, Billings) 

Judges' comments: "David Gessner's The Tarball Chronicles takes the lyrical tradition of nature writing, adds a bit of a badass persona reminiscent of Edward Abbey, and brings both into the blighted Gulf of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Along the way, Gessner cultivates relationships that allow people across cultural, geographic, and political gaps to recognize their common interest in saving what is left in the world.  Gessner doesn't hide from the damage, even as he asserts that there is a profound beauty still in nature, and that, if the future may not offer much hope, there's still, as Thoreau might say, a world out there to be lived in. And good lives--both human and not--still being led.  This book is edgy, dynamic, darkly humorous, and engaging, with lyrical fireworks, evocatively rendered landscapes, and unflinching but sensitive portrayals of people, places and the damage done, and Gessner's own distinctive and convincing voice rings out from the center of the action."  

Ecocriticism Book Award  

Rob Nixon (University of Wisconsin, Madison), Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor, Harvard University Press, 2011. 

HONORABLE MENTION: Karen Laura Thornber (Harvard University) for Ecoambiguity: Environmental Crisis and East Asian Literatures, University of Michigan Press, 2012. 

Judges: Stacy Alaimo (University of Texas, Arlington); Mark Long (Keene State College, Keene, NH); H. Lewis Ulman (Ohio State University, Columbus)    

Judges' comments: "The book's strength is its comparative theoretical framework resulting in an expansion of geographical and chronological scales elided by contemporary media and our own representational traditions. The eloquent framing of the project with Rachel Carson, Edward Said, and Ramanchandra Guha charts an important comparative method for further studies in transnational environmental justice movements. For example, in his discussing Rachel Carson and Wangari Maathai, the rise of environmentalism in the US and the Green Belt Movement, Nixon brings into conversation two traditions of social action and cultural work. More importantly, his analysis offers important insights into both the strengths and the limitations of critical categories such as environmentalism and postcolonialism."


Environmental Creative Writing Graduate Student Paper Award  

Maya Laxmi Kapoor (University of Arizona), "The Slowness of Our Eyes: A Creative Nonfiction Look at Life Through a Microscope"

Judges: Susan Hawthorne (James Cook University, Cairns); Brian Bartlett (St. Mary's University, Halifax); and John Ryan (Edith Cowan University, Perth) 

Judges' comments: "a lively and thought-provoking piece that explores the unseen lives of  marine invertebrates and offers fresh insights into the ethics of our relationships to them through the metaphor of the microscope."

Ecocriticism Graduate Student Paper Award 

William Lombardi (University of Nevada, Reno), "Unequal Burdens: An Outline for Postlocal Ecocriticism and Notes on the Location of Ecosocial Justice"    

HONORABLE MENTION: Sarah Nolan (University of Nevada, Reno) for "Unnatural Poetics: Unlikely Environments in Contemporary American Poetry" 

Judges: Serpil Opperman (Hacettepe University, Ankara); Jenny Kerber (University of Toronto); Dan Wylie (Rhodes University, Grahamstown)

Judges' comments: "Lombardi's argument on postlocal ecocriticism has the potential to advance the field in interesting ways because he convincingly argues that this term helps us re-think bioregionalism and place-studies, and also other terms, such as Heise's eco-cosmopolitanism, or glocalisms."


To read in more detail about the 2011 awards, see the article in the Summer 2011 issue of ASLE News.

2011 Graduate Student Paper Awards

Scholarly Paper:  Alenda Chang, University of California, Berkeley, for "Back to the Virtual Farm: Gleaning the Agriculture-Management Game"

Creative Writing: Micah Sewell, University of Montana for "Seeds: A Creation Story"

2011 Book Award Winners

Ecocritical Work:  Stacy Alaimo, University of Texas, Arlington
Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self

Creative Writing: Jeffrey Thomson, University of Maine, Farmington:  Birdwatching in Wartime



To read in more detail about the awards, see the article in the Summer 2009 issue of ASLE News.

2009 Book Award Winners

Ecocritical Work:  Paul Outka, Florida State University, Race and Nature from Transcendentalism to the Harlem Renaissance

Creative Writing: Elizabeth Dodd, Kansas State University, In the Mind's Eye: Essays across the Animate World

2009 Graduate Student Paper Awards


Scholarly Paper:  Andrew Husband, Sam Houston State University, "Postcolonial 'Greenery': Surreal Garden Imagery in Nuruddin Farah's Maps"

Creative Writing: Emily Carr, University of Calgary, "eve / in exile: the poem as ecotone"



To read in more detail about the awards, see the article in the Fall 2007 ASLE News.

2007 Book Award Winners

Ecocritical Work: Robert N. Watson, Back to Nature: The Green and the Real in the Late Renaissance (U Penn P).

Creative Writing: Gretchen Legler, On the Ice: An Intimate Portrait of Life at McMurdo Station, Antarctica (Milkweed).


2007 Graduate Student Paper Award Winners

Scholarly Paper:  Jill Gatlin, University of Washington, “Landscapes and Lungs: Toxicity, Space, and Race in Hubert Skidmore’s Hawk’s Nest."

Creative Writing: Flannery Scott, Western Illinois University, “The Highest Places.”