image description
Elizabeth Kolbert image

Pulitzer Prize-winning Science Writer & Journalist


Elizabeth Kolbert traveled from Alaska to Greenland, and visited top scientists, to get to the heart of the debate over global warming. The result is The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, a book about mass extinctions that weaves intellectual and natural history with reporting in the field began as an article in The New Yorker. It was a New York Times 2014 Top Ten Best Book of the Year and is number one on the Guardian's list of the 100 Best Nonfiction Books of all time. The Sixth Extinction also won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in the General Nonfiction category, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle awards for the best books of 2014. In 2019 it was the chosen book for the Chicago Public Library's One Book, One Chicago program, and was named one of Slate’s 50 Best Nonfiction Books of the Past 25 Years. In 2024 a 10th Anniversary Edition with a new epilogue was published. An edition for children, The Sixth Extinction (young readers adaptation), is also available. Her next book will be H Is for Hope: Climate Change from A to Z (Ten Speed Press, March 26, 2024) which grew out of essays she wrote for the New Yorker. Kirkus calls it "An intelligently provocative and well-presented look at the world’s most pressing issue."

Her book, Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future, is about humanity’s harmful impact on the environment and ideas to rectify that harm. A national bestseller, it was named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post, Time, Esquire, Smithsonian Magazine, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and Library Journal. It was also recommended by Barack Obama and Bill Gates.

Growing out of a groundbreaking three-part series in The New Yorker (which won the 2005 National Magazine Award in the category Public Interest), Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change brings the environment into the consciousness of the American people and asks what, if anything, can be done, and how we can save our planet. Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change was chosen as one of the 100 Notable Books of the Year (2006) by The New York Times Book Review.

Her series on global warming, “The Climate of Man,” appeared in The New Yorker in the spring of 2005 and won the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s magazine award.

She has received numerous awards and honors including the National Academy of Sciences Communication Award in the newspaper/magazine category, a Lannan Writing Fellowship, the Heinz Award, a National Magazine Award in the Reviews and Criticism category, the Sierra Club's David R. Brower Award, the Walter Sullivan Award for Excellence in Science Journalism from the American Geophysical Union, the Desmond Wettern Award for Best Journalism, the Sam Rose ’58 and Julie Walters Prize at Dickinson College for Global Environmental Activism, the Blake-Dodd Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Pell Center Prize for Story in the Public Square. She was the 12th Janet Weis Fellow in Contemporary Letters at Bucknell University and was voted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Elizabeth Kolbert has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1999. Her essays have also appeared in The New York Times MagazineVogue, and Mother Jones, and have been anthologized in The Best American Science and Nature Writing and The Best American Political Writing. She edited The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2009. A collection of her work, The Prophet of Love and Other Tales of Power and Deceit, was published in 2004. Prior to joining the staff of The New Yorker, Kolbert was a political reporter for The New York Times.