ASLE Book & Paper Awards

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 next awards will be presented at the Authors’ and Awards Reception at our 2025 Conference (dates/location TBA).

Book Awards

2023 ASLE Book Awards Call (PDF) (For reference only, next call will be issued in summer 2024 for 2025 awards)

The Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) will hold its ninth biennial book awards ceremony at its biennial conference in 2025. Both awards include a prize of $500. 

The Book Awards will be presented in two categories:

  • the best book-length work of scholarly ecocriticism
  • the best book-length work of creative writing (any genre) with an environmental theme

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Titles published in 2023 and 2024 will be considered.
  • Works of narrative scholarship, or works that in other ways blend scholarly criticism with creative writing, can only be submitted in one category, and indicated with the submission.
  • Edited collections in both the scholarly and creative categories are eligible for the awards.
  • The committee on scholarly ecocriticism will consider only titles in that genre; books with a general environmental theme that do not meet that criteria will not be entered into the contest.
  • Works must be in English.
  • Self-published books, or writing that is not book length, will not be considered.
  • Nominees must be current members of ASLE or an international affiliate when they submit. If you are unsure of your member status, log in here, or contact or your international affiliate secretary to verify.

 Submission Instructions:

  • Works may be submitted by either the author or publisher. Authors are advised to coordinate with their publishers to avoid multiple, or missed, submissions.
  • Deadline for receipt of all submissions is TBA for 2025 awards. This deadline is firm and NO EXCEPTIONS will be made for late entries.
  • Three copies of the nominated book should be sent to the appropriate coordinator below. Electronic copies of the publication are encouraged if available.
  • If a book submission makes the finalist round, we will require two more copies for judges.
  • Submit book entries to the appropriate coordinator, at the physical or email addresses below:

Environmental Creative Writing Book Award Coordinator:
Laura-Gray Street
1408 Wakefield Rd.
Lynchburg, VA 24503
Contact email:

Scholarly Ecocriticism Book Award Coordinator:
Eric Morel
University of Delaware
Contact email:

Graduate Student Paper Awards

2023 ASLE GRADUATE STUDENT AWARDS CALL (For reference only, next call will be issued in late 2024 for 2025 awards)

The Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) will once again honor the best work of graduate students by presenting awards for presentations made at its 2025 conference, dates/location TBA.

  • One awardee, and up to two honorable mention recipients, will be chosen from the submissions of eligible work.
  • Both scholarly papers in any aspect of the environmental humanities or any genre of environmental creative writing by a graduate student presented at the conference are eligible for the awards.
  • Those submitting papers must be presenting at the conference, be members of ASLE or an international affiliate, and should be or have been enrolled as a graduate student at some time within seven months of the conference dates.
  • Award includes a prize of $100 and publication in ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment; all honorable mention recipients will receive a prize of $100.
  • The content that is submitted for the awards must be essentially the same content that is presented at the conference. Submissions longer than 12 double-spaced pages (works cited excluded) will not be accepted.

Papers must be submitted as an email attachment in a standard format (doc, docx, or pdf) by deadline (TBA).

Send to Sylvan Goldberg, Graduate Student Paper Award Coordinator, at

Awards Co-Coordinators

Environmental Creative Writing Book Award

Laura-Gray Street, Randolph College

Ecocriticism Book Award

Nicole Seymour, California State University, Fullerton

Graduate Student Papers Awards

Sylvan Goldberg, Colorado College

Awards Archive



Ecocriticism Books

Jessica Hurley (George Mason University), Infrastructures of Apocalypse: American Literature and the Nuclear Complex, University of Minnesota Press, 2020.

Judges’ comments: “Jessica Hurley’s bracing study Infrastructures of Apocalypse examines nuclear representations that, in the author’s words, “defamiliarize the present, estranging us from the everyday world that we inhabit,” which is also a good description of what the book accomplishes. It delivers a bold challenge to doomsday rhetoric. It also deflates the fantasy of a final detonation. According to Hurley, the end is now; we are living it. Hurley exposes a world “saturated with nuclear logics” by shifting attention from the bomb to the present reality of the nuclear apocalypse as it is lived and articulated by various environmental and liberatory justice movements emerging from marginalized communities. Infrastructures of Apocalypse realigns the field of environmental humanities around nuclear narratives and delivers searing accounts of nuclear cultures past and present. It is a one-of-a-kind book that will help folks writing about and teaching a variety of environmental humanities topics.”

African-Ecomedia-Cover-200x300.jpg Cajetan Iheka (Yale University), African Ecomedia: Network Forms, Planetary Politics, Duke University Press, 2021

Judges comment: “Cajetan Iheka’s African Ecomedia: Network Forms, Planetary Politics foregrounds Africa’s media objects, including “oil, uranium, coltan, and banana,” as the absent presence of contemporary media studies, waste studies, and the energy humanities. The book begins and ends with a piercing analysis of the film Black Panther and discloses the centrality of African ecomedia to the workings of global capitalism, communication technology, and popular culture. Iheka’s book stands out among a growing body of environmental media studies by drawing attention to African art, history, and Black diasporic culture in making network forms—forms, Iheka argues, that are always political and extractive. It is a remarkable book, distinguished by excellent research and writing, that offers a much-needed shift in media studies and environmental criticism.”


Environmental Creative Writing Books

Marisol Cortez (The University of Texas at San Antonio), Luz at Midnight, Flowersong Press, 2020.

Judges’ comments: “Marisol Cortez’s Luz at Midnight is ambitious, challenging, and essential. This novel ranges across prose, poetry, research notes, emails, and newspaper articles, blurring the boundaries of “conventional” genre in ways long overdue. Who gets to speak? How do we get to speak? This novel offers readers in and beyond the academy–who may not often see themselves or their experiences represented in environmental literature–hope and paths toward visible voice. Luz at Midnight defies imperialism both in form, as research notes become poems that become prose that reaches across time and space, and in content, as we follow a group of environmental activists in San Antonio who, like their author, bend genre and convention so that oft-silenced voices can and must be heard. Luz at Midnight shows us these silencings–and shows us how, in the face of that silencing, to keep existing and keep finding voice. No tidy conclusions in this novel, and no utopias, but Cortez’s characters model an inspiring willingness to remain. An outstanding debut prose work from whom environmental literature has much to learn.”

gut-botany.jpg Petra Kuppers (The University of Michigan), Gut Botany, Wayne State University Press, 2020.

Judges’ comments: “In Petra Kuppers’s Gut Botany, body and language bloom open to bear witness to ecological, linguistic, and human wounds, grief, and healing. We are in the body in these poems, feeling the ache in a hip alongside the slippery pleasure of love—and, importantly, Gut Botany works with a body far too often silenced in environmental and contemporary literature. Kuppers shows her speaker’s existence as a “gender-non-conforming nebula,” as a person with a wheelchair, and as a survivor of assault, together with richly textured and evocative accounts of Michigan waterways and the sturgeon. Through surrealism and situationist poetry, Kuppers resists heteropatriarchy, ableism, and settler-colonialism through deep interconnection with the sentient ecologies around her. Gut Botany shows the interconnection of human and more-than-human bodies through the porous flow of water and of language. “Silica water rushes pearl kernels onto the land,” she writes, “Make yourself this place, / bones open into embrace, / my face outward, into the wind’s curvature.” Here is a book that shows what it is to inhabit a particular body, with its legacies of trauma and privilege, and to work through language—itself also a medium of trauma and privilege—in ways that acknowledge and choose respectful existence.”

Honorable Mentions

Jill Sisson Quinn (creative book), Sign Here if You Exist, and Other Essays, The Ohio State University Press, 2020.
Elizabeth C. Miller (University of California, Davis, ecocritical book), Extraction Ecologies and the Literature of the Long Exhaustion, Princeton University Press, 2021.

To read in more detail about the 2022 awards, see the article on the ASLE News Tab.



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.