News | December 5, 2023

Meet our 2024 Phil Reed Environmental Writing Award finalists  

The Southern Environmental Law Center presents our finalists for the 2024 Phillip D. Reed Environmental Writing Award.

The work of this year’s finalists explores a wide array of environmental topics, ranging from environmental injustices faced by Southern communities to the challenges our region faces as it deals with the realities of climate change to the importance of environmental conservation.

Presented each year, the Reed Award celebrates writers who achieve both literary excellence and offer extraordinary insight into the South’s natural treasures and environmental challenges. 

The Award recognizes outstanding writing in two categories: the Book Category for works of nonfiction (not self-published) and the Journalism Category for newspaper, magazine, and online writing published by a recognized institution such as a news organization, university, or nonprofit group. 

Book category finalists:

  • Sally Sierer Bethea, Keeping the Chattahoochee: Reviving and Defending a Great Southern River
  • Brooks Lamb, Love for the Land: Lessons from Farmers Who Persist in Place
  • Emily Strasser, Half-Life of a Secret: Reckoning with a Hidden History
  • Gregory S. Wilson, Poison Powder: The Kepone Disaster in Virginia and Its Legacy

Journalism category finalists:

  • Katie Jane Fernelius, The Guardian, “After two climate-decimated harvests, southern peach farmers wonder how to regroup” 
  • David Folkenflik, Mario Ariza, Miranda Green, NPR, “In the Southeast, power company money flows to news sites that attack their critics”
  • Dr. Cynthia Greenlee, Garden & Gun, “Reclaiming a North Carolina Plantation”
  • Jennifer Kornegay, The Bitter Southerner, “Birding in Alabama’s Black Belt”
  • Cherise Morris, Scalawag, “Emergence”

Reed Award winners are selected by a national panel of judges that includes leading environmental writers, journalists, and advocates. Next year marks the 30th anniversary of the Reed Award and honors the late Phillip D. Reed, a distinguished attorney, committed environmental activist, and a founding trustee of SELC.

This year’s winners will be announced in early February 2024. There will be an award ceremony honoring the winners held on March 22 in Charlottesville, Virginia, in conjunction with the Virginia Festival of the Book. The event will also be streamed online. 

SELC presents the award annually in memory of Phillip D. Reed, a founding trustee of SELC who helped guide our organization through the early years before his untimely death in 1993. A talented attorney committed environmental activist, and editor of the widely read Environmental Law Reporter, Phil was known for his ebullient spirit and inquiring intellect.