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Writing Nature, Writing Science

Join us at Kenyon College on April 12-14 for a fascinating symposium on science and nature writing. Our guests will include Andrea Wulf, winner of the James Wright Award for Nature Writing, co-sponsored by KR and The Nature Conservancy, for her book The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World, and Lauret Savoy, author of Trace: Memory, History, Race and the American Landscape.

In recent months, KR has been exploring the question of what makes science and nature writing a literary art. Last fall, KR published The Poetics of Science, a special issue devoted to literary science writing, along with special features on Kenyon Review Online and a discussion of literary science writing on the KR Blog. During summer 2016, KR launched a new writers workshop devoted to nature writing, which will return as part of the KR Writers Workshops in July 2017.

As part of this ongoing conversation between literature and science, KR welcomes two of the most critically acclaimed writers currently exploring the natural world and the American landscape.

Andrea Wulf is the author of The Brother Gardeners, Founding Gardeners, and Chasing Venus, published in 2012 in conjunction with the last transit of Venus in our century. In addition to the inaugural James Wright Award for Nature Writing sponsored by KR, her latest book The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World has won numerous literary prizes, including the Royal Society Science Book Prize 2016, the Costa Biography Award 2015, the Cundill Prize in Historical Literature Recognition of Excellence Award 2016, the LA Times Book Prize 2016 (Science & Technology), the QI Book of the Year Award 2016, and the Ness Award 2016 from the Royal Geographical Society “for popularizing the histories of geography and of scientific botanical exploration.” The Invention of Nature was named one of the 10 Best Books of 2015 by The New York Times.

Lauret Savoy’s Trace: Memory, History, Race and the American Landscape won a 2016 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, and was named Finalist for the PEN American Open Book Award, the Phillis Wheatley Book Award, and the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Part memoir, part lyric meditation on landscape, geography, and history, Trace confronts the way that America’s legacy of violence, oppression, and reconciliation has been written on the land and its inhabitants.

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