Press Release | July 30, 2020

SELC seeks nominations for Phil Reed Environmental Writing Award

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA—The Southern Environmental Law Center is now accepting submissions for the 2021 Phillip D. Reed Environmental Writing Awards. Nominations are welcome from anyone, including readers, authors and publishers.

Presented each year during the Virginia Festival of the Book, the Reed Awards recognize outstanding writing on the southern environment 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.

  • All submissions must have been published between October 1, 2019, and September 30, 2020.
  • Submissions must relate to the natural environment in at least one of the following states: Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee or Virginia.
  • Submissions are due by October 1, 2020.
  • Journalism entries must be at least 3,000 words and may consist of a single article or a group of articles.

There are three options for submitting entries: electronic copy, hard copy, or a website link to where the submission is available for sale. Hard copy submissions will not be returned.

The Reed Awards celebrate writers who achieve both literary excellence and extraordinary insight into the South’s natural heritage and environmental challenges. This year, New York Times opinion writer Margaret Renkl received the book award for Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss, published by Milkweed Editions. Megan Mayhew Bergman, a faculty member at Middlebury College and director of the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference, received the journalism award for “Climate Changed,” a series on southern attitudes toward climate change published by The Guardian.

Other recent winners include:

  • Earl Swift, author of Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island;
  • John Archibald and Kyle Whitmire of the Alabama Media Group for their coverage of a  public corruption scandal aimed at shielding companies from the expense of cleaning up pollution in disadvantaged neighborhoods;
  • Clemson University wildlife ecologist J. Drew Lanham for his book The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature;
  • Harvard University biologist (emeritus) and Alabama native Edward O. Wilson, a pioneering champion of protecting the planet’s biodiversity;
  • Writer and poet Janisse Ray, author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, a New York Times Notable Book and the winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award; and
  • Deborah Cramer, a visiting scholar at MIT’s Environmental Solutions Initiative who also won awards from the Society of Environmental Journalists and the National Academies of Science, Medicine, and Engineering.

Reed Award winners are selected by a national panel of judges that includes leading environmental writers, journalists and advocates. The awards honor the late Phillip D. Reed, a distinguished attorney, a committed environmental activist and a founding trustee of the Southern Environmental Law Center.

Are you a reporter and would like more information? Please visit our press contact page for a full list of SELC’s press contacts.