ASLE Book & Paper Awards

2022 Book Award Winners have been announced! Read about them here

Finalists have been announced for the 2022 Awards! Read about the shortlisted works

The ASLE book and graduate student paper awards in the areas of ecocriticism and environmental creative writing recognize excellence in the field. The first awards were given at the 2007 Biennial Conference held at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The most recent awards were given at the 2019 conference held at the University of California, Davis.

ASLE postponed the book awards in 2021, but will hold them in 2022!  The call is posted below as a PDF and in this article in ASLE News. Books published by ASLE and affiliated members in 2019, 2020, and 2021 are eligible in two categories. Deadline for submissions is March 21, 2022.

Guidelines for rules and instructions on how to submit your book for consideration are in the link below. Graduate Student Paper Awards, as well as Book Awards, will be given at the next biennial conference in 2023.

ASLE Book Awards Call 2022 (PDF, submission deadline has passed)

2021 ASLE Graduate Student Paper Awards Call (passed)

Awards Co-Coordinators

Environmental Creative Writing Book Award

Laura-Gray Street, Randolph College
[email protected]

Ecocriticism Book Award

Nicole Seymour, California State University, Fullerton
[email protected]

Graduate Student Papers Awards

Sylvan Goldberg, Colorado College
[email protected]

Awards Archive



Ecocriticism Book

Cajetan Iheka (Yale University), Naturalizing Africa: Ecological Violence, Agency, and Postcolonial Resistance in African Literature, Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Judges’ comments: “Naturalizing Africa brings together the previously separate conversations of postcolonial ecocriticism, environmental justice, and new materialism. It deftly weaves together the work of major ecocritical scholars such as Nixon, Haraway, Caminero-Santangelo, Iovino and Oppermann, and to sharply critique a status quo (the anthropocentrism of postcolonial studies).”


Environmental Creative Writing Book

Elizabeth Rush (Brown University), Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, Milkweed Editions, 2018.

Judges’ comments: “Rising offers a vivid, compassionate, and personal account of meetings with extraordinary people who, living on the margins of both our continent and our society, are most directly and tragically affected by global warming. A compelling, masterful blend of journalism, social critique, and personal discovery that brings climate change right to the reader’s door.”

Graduate Student Papers

Heidi Hong (University of Southern California), “Toxic Waters: Visualizing Vietnamese Ecologies in the Afterlives of Empire”
Carlos Alonso Nugent (Yale University), “Latinx Archives in/of/and the Anthropocene”
Pao-chen Tang (University of Chicago): “Looking Through the Compound Eyes: The Ecological Sublime and Found Footage Aesthetics in Dragonfly Eyes”

To read in more detail about the 2019 awards, see the article on the ASLE News Tab.



Environmental Creative Writing Book

Lauret Savoy (Mount Holyoke College), Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape, Counterpoint Press, 2016.

Judges’ comments: “Lauret Savoy’s Trace is an impeccably researched and gracefully written meditation on landscape, memory, and race. An important book that speaks directly and memorably to current political and theoretical concerns, Trace maps the links between personal and cultural memory, showing how place reveals itself through the erasures of human and geologic history.”


Ecocriticism Book

Jesse Oak Taylor (University of Washington), The Sky of Our Manufacture: The London Fog in British Fiction from Dickens to Woolf, University of Virginia Press, 2016.

Judges’ comments: “A richly layered analysis of the atmosphere of toxicity beginning in nineteenth century England and shadowing our own contemporary world, this book fills a significant gap in terms of ecocritical work on both the Victorian and modern eras. Indeed, The Sky of Our Manufacture makes a persuasive case for literature of that period as Anthropocene literature – and, in so doing, offers one of the strongest accounts of Anthropocene literature currently available. Taylor’s grasp of environmental history, material and economic theory, and illuminating textual readings is a model of ecocriticism. The book is also elegantly written, admirably focused, and highly original.”

Graduate Student Papers

K.M. Ferebee (The Ohio State University), “The Quick and the Dead: Animacy, (Un)Burial, and Resistance in Pu-239 (The Half-Life of Timofey Berezin)”
Marta Werbanowska (Howard University), “’There Is Hope in Connecting’: Black Ecotheology and the Poetry of Lucille Clifton”

To read in more detail about the 2017 awards, see the article on the ASLE News Tab.



Ecocriticism Book

Nicole Seymour (California State University, Fullerton), Strange Natures: Futurity, Empathy, and the Queer Ecological Imagination, University of Illinois Press, 2013.

Judges’ comments: “Nicole Seymour’s Strange Natures: Futurity, Empathy, and the Queer Ecological Imagination is an ambitious, intelligent, and subtle intervention on the longstanding division between queer theory and the “natural.” Building on a deep appreciation of how the natural has historically been deployed against sexualities and identities outside the heteronormative, and the links between that violence and environmental degradation, Seymour identifies vitally important tradition of queer environmentalism in contemporary literature and film from the Americas. Strange Natures is a major contribution to the queering of ecocriticism and the greening of queer theory.”


Environmental Creative Writing Book

Emily McGiffin (York University), Subduction Zone, Pedlar Press, 2014.

Judges’ comments: “McGiffin’s poetry startles and provokes, even as it pleases and draws the reader in. Impressively, she takes on subject matter as immense as empire–its power over us yet vulnerability to self-destruction–and makes it vivid, personal, and immediate.”

Ecocriticism Graduate Student Paper

Vera Coleman (Arizona State University), “Becoming a Fish: Trans-Species Beings in Narrative Fiction of the Southern Cone”

To read in more detail about the 2015 awards, see the article on the ASLE News Tab.



Ecocriticism Book

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

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. …His analysis offers important insights into both the strengths and the limitations of critical categories such as environmentalism and postcolonialism.”


Environmental Creative Writing Book

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.

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.”

Environmental Creative Writing Graduate Student Paper

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

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

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

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.”



Ecocritical Book

Stacy Alaimo (University of Texas, Arlington), Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self, Indiana University Press, 2010.


Creative Writing Book

Jeffrey Thomson (University of Maine, Farmington), Birdwatching in Wartime, Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2009.

Graduate Student Papers

  • 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”

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



Ecocritical Book

Paul Outka (Florida State University), Race and Nature from Transcendentalism to the Harlem Renaissance, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.


Creative Writing Book

Elizabeth Dodd (Kansas State University), In the Mind’s Eye: Essays across the Animate World, University of Nebraska Press, 2008.

Graduate Student Paper

  • Scholarly: 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 Summer 2009 issue of ASLE News.



Ecocritical Book

Robert N. Watson (UCLA), Back to Nature: The Green and the Real in the Late Renaissance, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006.


Creative Writing Book

Gretchen Legler, On the Ice: An Intimate Portrait of Life at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, Milkweed, 2005.

Graduate Student Paper

  • Scholarly: 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.”

To read in more detail about the 2007 awards, see the article on page 4 of the Fall 2007 ASLE News.