Announcing the 2013 Orion Book Award Winner

Note to publishers and authors: to have your book, published in 2013, considered for the 2014 Orion Book Award, please mail it to:
187 Main Street
Great Barrington, MA 01230
Attention: Orion Book Award

There is no fee to submit books; the postmark deadline for consideration is December 20, 2013.


Apocalyptic Planet: Field Guide to the Everending Earth

by Craig Childs (Pantheon)

Apocalyptic Planet puts an entirely new spin on our usual preoccupations with climate change and catastrophe in general. This is a work deeply worthy of the Orion Book Award.” —The Editors

Read more about this book.


Flight Behavior: A Novel

by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper)

Things That Are: Essays

by Amy Leach (Milkweed Editions)

The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot

by Robert Macfarlane (Viking)

The Mountain and the Fathers: Growing Up on the Big Dry

by Joe Wilkins (Counterpoint)

Selection Committee

Jessa Crispin is the editor and founder of the litblog and webzine Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Guardian, and The Toronto Globe and Mail, among other publications. She has been a book critic for NPR and contributor to PBS’s Need to Know. She currently resides in Berlin, Germany.

Ursula Kroeber Le Guin was born in 1929 in Berkeley, and lives in Portland, Oregon. As of 2013, she has published twenty-one novels, eleven volumes of short stories, four collections of essays, twelve books for children, six volumes of poetry, and four of translation, and has received many honors and awards, including the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award. Her most recent publications are Finding My Elegy: New and Selected Poems, 1960-2010, and The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories, both published in 2012.

Erik Reece is the author of An American Gospel: On Family, History, and the Kingdom of God and Lost Mountain: A Year in the Vanishing Wilderness, which won the John B. Oakes Award for Environmental Writing and the Sierra Club’s David R. Brower Award. He is a contributing editor to Orion and is working on a book about the utopian movement in the U.S. He lives in Nonesuch, Kentucky, and teaches writing at the University of Kentucky. His most recent book, The Embattled Wilderness (written with Jim Krupa) is an argument to save one eastern Kentucky forest from the ravages of mountaintop removal strip mining.

Luis Alberto Urrea is the best-selling author of thirteen books and a member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame. Born in Tijuana, Mexico, to a Mexican father and an American mother, Urrea has won numerous awards for his poetry, fiction, and essays. The Devil’s Highway, his 2004 nonfiction account of a group of Mexican immigrants lost in the Arizona desert, won the Lannan Literary Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Pacific Rim Kiriyama Prize. An historical novel, The Hummingbird’s Daughter won the Kiriyama Prize in fiction and has been optioned by Mexican director Luis Mandoki for a film to star Antonio Banderas. Urrea’s most recent novel is Into the Beautiful North. He lives with his family in Naperville, Illinois, where he is a professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Hannah Fries is associate editor and poetry editor of Orion. Pieces she has edited have won Pushcart Prizes and been reprinted in Best American Essays, Best American Spiritual Writing, and Best American Short Stories. She holds an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson College, and her own work appears in The Massachusetts Review, Drunken Boat, Calyx, The Cortland Review, and other journals.

About the Orion Book Award

The Orion Book Award is given annually to a book that addresses the human relationship with the natural world in a fresh, thought provoking, and engaging manner. Four additional books are named as finalists.

Books eligible for the Orion Book Award are judged against these criteria:

• That it deepens connection to the natural world

• That it presents new ideas about the relationship between people and nature

• That it achieves excellence in writing

The Orion Book Award recognizes books published in North America during the previous calendar year. Nominations for the award are made by advisors, writers, editors, and contributing editors of Orion. Selection of the winning book and four finalists are made by a five-person selection committee, which changes annually. Nominations from authors or from publishers, editors, or agents of books that they have been involved with are not accepted.

More information about previous Orion Book Award winners and finalists is available here.