Diane Ackerman, an award-winning author of many works of nonfiction and poetry, will deliver the 2016 Turner Lecture in the Humanities.
Poet, essayist, and naturalist, Diane Ackerman is the author of two dozen highly acclaimed works of nonfiction and poetry, including “The Zookeeper’s Wife” and “A Natural History of the Senses” ― books beloved by millions of readers all over the world. In prose so rich and evocative that one can feel the earth turning beneath one’s feet as one reads, Ackerman’s thrilling observations urge us to live in the moment, to wake up to nature’s everyday miracles.
Diane Ackerman’s latest nonfiction book, “The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us,” celebrates the natural world and human ingenuity, while exploring how the human race has become the single dominant force of change on the whole planet, and the many earth-shaking changes that now affect every part of our lives and those of our fellow creatures. It received the P.E.N. Henry David Thoreau Award for Nature Writing and was a New York Times bestseller.
Ms. Ackerman’s memoir, “One Hundred Names for Love,” has been described by Booklist as: “A gorgeously engrossing, affecting, sweetly funny, and mind-opening love story of crisis, determination, creativity, and repair.” It was a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Circle Critics Award.
“The Zookeeper’s Wife,” a little known true story of WWII, became a New York Times bestseller and received the Orion Book Award, which honored it as “a groundbreaking work of nonfiction, in which the human relationship to nature is explored in an absolutely original way through looking at the Holocaust. A few years ago, ‘nature’ writers were asking themselves, How can a book be at the same time a work of art, an act of conscientious objection to the destruction of the world, and an affirmation of hope and human decency? The Zookeeper’s Wife answers this question.”
Ms. Ackerman’s other works of nonfiction include: “An Alchemy of Mind,” a poetics of the brain based on the latest neuroscience; “Cultivating Delight: A Natural History of My Garden;” “Deep Play,” which considers play, creativity, and our need for transcendence; “A Slender Thread,” about her work as a crisis line counselor; “The Rarest of the Rare” and “The Moon by Whale Light,” in which she explores the plight and fascination of endangered animals; “A Natural History of Love;” “On Extended Wings,” her memoir of flying; and her bestseller, “A Natural History of the Senses.”
Diane Ackerman’s poetry includes “Origami Bridges,” “I Praise My Destroyer,” “Jaguar of Sweet Laughter: New and Selected Poems,” “Lady Faustus,” “Reverse Thunder: A Dramatic Poem,” “Wife of Light,” and “The Planets: A Cosmic Pastoral.” She also writes nature books for children: “Animal Sense,” “Monk Seal Hideaway,” and “Bats: Shadows in the Night.”
HONORS AND ACCOLADES
Ms. Ackerman has received a P.E.N. Henry David Thoreau Award for Nature Writing, honorary doctorate from Kenyon College, Guggenheim Fellowship, Orion Book Award, John Burroughs Nature Award, Lavan Poetry Prize, as well as being honored as a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library. She also has the rare distinction of having a molecule named after her —dianeackerone— a pheromone in crocodilians. She has taught at a number of universities, including Columbia and Cornell. Her essays about nature and human nature have been appearing for decades in The New York Times, Smithsonian, Parade, New Yorker, National Geographic and many other journals. She hosted a five-hour PBS television series inspired by “A Natural History of the Senses.”