Orion Book Award

Orion Magazine is taking a temporary leave from the Orion Book Award selection. Stay tuned. 

Each year, the Orion Book Award is presented to books that deepen the reader’s connection to the natural world, represent excellence in writing, and that we believe Orion readers will enjoy. The award has been conferred annually since 2007.


soulofanoctopus_bigcoverThe winner of the 2016 Orion Book Award is The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness, by Sy Montgomery (Atria Books):

“Montgomery introduces us to the incredible intelligence and physical capacities of octopuses, an animal whose biology and behavior suggest a kind of alien mind. But the real joy of this book—and of all of Montgomery’s writing—is the author’s ability to build emotional connections between herself, her subject, and her readers. Montgomery writes with such warmth, curiosity, and humanity that our understanding of the cold world of these beautiful animals is utterly transformed.” —The Editors







The finalists for the 2016 Orion Book Award are:

oysterwar_coverThe Oyster War: The True Story of a Small Farm, Big Politics, and the Future of Wilderness in America, by Summer Brennan (Counterpoint Press)







hisforhawk_coverH Is for Hawk: A Memoir, by Helen MacDonald (Grove Press)








riverrunsagain_coverA River Runs Again: India’s Natural World in Crisis, from the Barren Cliffs of Rajasthan to the Farmlands of Karnataka , by Meera Subramanian (Public Affairs)








Previous winning books include The Bees, by Laline Paull (2015, fiction), Feral, by George Monbiot (2015, nonfiction), MaddAddam, by Margaret Atwood (2014, fiction), Sightlines, by Kathleen Jamie (2014, nonfiction), and Apocalyptic Planet, by Craig Childs (2013).

The Orion Book Award recognizes books published in North America during the previous calendar year. Selection of the winners and finalists is made by the Orion staff, and the staff endeavors to surface and consider every book that is eligible for the award. However, we welcome recommendations—from authors, publishers, agents, and readers—for books we should be sure to consider.

Recommendations can be sent to questions@orionmagazine.org. Galleys and review copies can be submitted for consideration to our office at:

187 Main Street
Great Barrington, MA 01230

If you submit a galley or review copy, it will automatically be considered for the award. No other formal application is needed.

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