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 2011 conference held at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN.
The next ASLE book awards will be presented at the 2013 biennial conference, from May 28-June 1, 2013 at the University of Kansas, Lawrence KS. Those awards will be for books published by ASLE and affiliated members in 2011 and 2012. Please see the posted guidelines for below for instructions on how to submit your work for consideration.
ASLE AWARD WINNERS 2011
GRADUATE STUDENT CREATIVE PAPER
JUDGES: Elizabeth Dodd, Kansas State University
Ruth Blair, University of Queensland
Di Brandt, Brandon University, Manitoba
Honorable Mentions: David Plastrik, University of Wisconsin, Madison, for "Near Neighbors" and Crystal Gibbins, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, for "Red River of the North and Other Poems"
Winner: Micah Sewell, University of Montana for "Seeds: A Creation Story"
Judges' comments: Micah's paper is a very ambitious and wide-ranging piece of creative nonfiction, interweaving personal narrative, reportage, and meditation in a richly developed essay. Exploring the multi-faceted role of seeds in maintaining life on earth, the story refreshes scientific knowledge with poetic immediacy. Employing a borrowed mythical frame, "Seeds: A Creation Story" proposes a wide evolutionary intellectual frame, with timely cosmological implications.
GRADUATE STUDENT SCHOLARLY PAPER
JUDGES: Greg Garrard, Bath Spa University
Carmen Flys Junquera, Universidad de Alcalá
CA. Cranston, University of Tasmania
Honorable Mention: Angela Lewandowski, University of California, Davis, for “The Ecopoetics of Emergency: Evelyn Reilly and Brenda Hillman”
Winner: Alenda Chang, University of California, Berkeley, for "Back to the Virtual Farm: Gleaning the Agriculture-Management Game"
Judges' comments: Chang's essay begins with the author rising from bed to harvest crops—without leaving the domestic oikos. Her game of preference, FarmVille, is touted to be the most popular game in the world by the developers at Facebook. Situated in the cultural ecology branch of ecocriticism, the essay traces the multiple levels of dissonance between agricultural reality and digital representation where a revisionist ‘pastoral’ has evolved in games like FarmVille which ‘naturalize technology.’ Chang's essay stood out thanks to its determination to engage critically with digital media, which are of inestimable significance to the students of today. The panel enjoyed her stylish writing, and admired the way in which she extended the long-standing ecocritical treatment of pastoral into new terrain.
BOOK: ENVIRONMENTAL CREATIVE WRITING
JUDGES: Kate Miles, Unity College
Nancy Holmes, University of British Columbia, Okanagan
Anthony Lioi, Juilliard School
Winner: Jeffrey Thomson, University of Maine, Farmington: Birdwatching in Wartime
Judges' comments: In Thomson's poetry collection, the animals are real and so is the singing. Whether mourning a wren killed by the atomic bomb or riffing on Borges, Thomson pays exquisite attention to creatures in literature and the world that might otherwise be lost, enriching our aesthetic and ethical life. Birdwatching gives the lie to the notion that formalism is devoid of passion by drenching its finely-wrought lines in sensual detail and biting intelligence. That it manages to be funny and experimental at the same time is a small miracle. Everyone who wonders about the fate of the green fire in American letters should read this book.
JUDGES: Tina Gianquitto, Colorado School of Mines
Randall Roorda, University of Kentucky
Terrell Dixon, University of Houston
Winner: Stacy Alaimo, University of Texas, Arlington
Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self
Judges' comments: In this book Stacy Alaimo correlates and responds to numerous calls issued to ecocriticism in recent years: calls for engagement with findings of science, for involvement with environmental justice, for dissolution of nature-culture binary thinking, for rebuttal of a creeping irrealism afflicting contemporary theory, and for attention and allegiance to what we’re accustomed to call nature. She does this by parlaying the notion of “trans-corporeality”—the essential material kinship, continuity, and traffic between human bodies and nonhuman nature—through a surprising range of discursive sites. Engaging in both literary-historical recovery and rhetorical intervention in contemporary affairs, Bodily Natures is model criticism: learned yet adventurous, comprehensive yet individual and idiosyncratic, breaking ground without burning bridges.
To read in more detail about the awards, see the article in the Summer 2009 issue of ASLE News.
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"
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
2007 Book Award Winners
To read in more detail about the awards, see the article in the Fall 2007 ASLE News.
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.”