We are thrilled to bring writer, activist, and South Georgia native Janisse Ray to ABAC. Her talk, "Story, Transformation, and Why Writing Matters," will take place on April 20 at 1:00 in HORT 131. This event is free and open to the public.
Ray is the author of five books of literary nonfiction and a collection of eco-poetry. She is currently the Louis D. Rubin Jr. Writer-in-Residence at Hollins University in Roanoke, Va. She won the 2017 Southern Environmental Law Center Award in journalism for her piece on coal ash, published online in The Bitter Southerner: “From Ashes Such as These, What Can Rise?” She is a 2015 inductee into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame. In 2014 Ray was awarded an honorary doctorate from LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga., following one from Unity College in Maine in 2007. She holds an MFA from the University of Montana, where she was the William Kittredge Distinguished Visiting Writer 2014.
Her first book, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, a memoir about growing up on a junkyard in the ruined longleaf pine ecosystem of the Southeast, was published by Milkweed Editions in 1999. It was a New York Times Notable Book and was chosen as the Book All Georgians Should Read. Besides a plea to protect and restore the pine flatwoods, the book is a hard look at family, mental illness, poverty, and religion. Essayist Wendell Berry called the book “well done and deeply moving.” Anne Raver of The New York Times said, “The forests of the South find their Rachel Carson.” The book won the Southeastern Booksellers Award for Nonfiction, American Book Award, Southern Environmental Law Center Award, and Southern Book Critics Circle Award.
Her most recent book, The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food, looks at the movement to reclaim the genetics of our food supply. The book has been translated into Turkish and French; and it won the Arlene Eisenberg Award for Writing that Makes a Difference, American Horticultural Society Book Award, Nautilus Gold Book Award, Garden Writers Association Gold Award, and Green Prize for Sustainable Literature Award.
Ray’s other books are:
Wild Card Quilt: Taking a Chance on Home
Pinhook: Finding Wholeness in a Fragmented Land
A House of Branches: Poems
Drifting Into Darien: A Personal and Natural History of the Altamaha River
The author lectures nationally on nature, community and the politics of wholeness. Ray lives with her husband and daughter on an organic farm in Tattnall County, Georgia.