Elizabeth
Nonfiction Writer
Pulitzer Prize Finalist
Travels from: Providence, RI

“She is generous, good-humored, incredibly energetic and delightful to work with.” — Bates College

Elizabeth Rush is the author of The Quickening: On Motherhood and Antarctica in the Twenty First Century and Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Central to Rush’s writing practice is the act of listening: listening to those who live in front-line climate changed communities, listening to Antarctica’s great glaciers as they go to pieces, listening to all those voices long locked out of environmental conversations. Her work explores a couple of fundamental questions: what does our disassembling world ask of us? How can we continue to live and love while also losing much?

Rush spent many years reporting from coastal communities already feeling the pressure of higher tides and stronger storms. In Rising, she weaves together her personal experience with first hand testimonials of those living on climate change’s front lines, guiding readers through some of the places where sea level rise is a reality. Hailed as “deeply felt” (New York Times), “a revelation” (Pacific Standard), and “the book on climate change and sea levels that was missing” (Chicago Tribune), Rising is both a highly original work of lyric reportage and a haunting meditation on how to let go of the places we love.

In 2019, Rush joined fifty-seven scientists and crew onboard a research icebreaker for months. The destination: Thwaites Glacier. The goal: to learn as much as possible about this mysterious place, never before visited by humans, and believed to be both rapidly deteriorating and capable of making a catastrophic impact on global sea-level rise this century. In The Quickening, Rush documents their voyage, offering the sublime—seeing an iceberg for the first time; the staggering waves of the Drake Passage, the torqued, unfamiliar contours of Thwaites—alongside the workaday moments of this groundbreaking expedition. A ping-pong tournament at sea. Long hours in the lab. All the effort that goes into caring for and protecting human life in a place that is inhospitable to it. Along the way, she takes readers on a personal journey around a more intimate question: What does it mean to bring a child into the world at this time of radical change?

Rush’s work has appeared in wide range of publications from the New York Times to Orion and Guernica. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Science Foundation, National Geographic, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Howard Foundation, the Andrew Mellon Foundation and the Metcalf Institute. Today she lives in Providence, Rhode Island with her husband and son. She teaches creative nonfiction at Brown University.

Elizabeth’s Authors Outloud Profile: 

Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore

Milkweed Editions |
Nonfiction

FINALIST FOR THE PULITZER PRIZE IN GENERAL NONFICTION
WINNER OF THE NATIONAL OUTDOOR BOOK AWARD
CHICAGO TRIBUNE TOP TEN BOOK OF 2018
GUARDIAN, NPR’s SCIENCE FRIDAYPUBLISHERS WEEKLY, AND LIBRARY JOURNAL BEST BOOK OF 2018

 

Hailed as “deeply felt” (New York Times), “a revelation” (Pacific Standard), and “the book on climate change and sea levels that was missing” (Chicago Tribune), Rising is both a highly original work of lyric reportage and a haunting meditation on how to let go of the places we love.

 

With every passing day, and every record-breaking hurricane, it grows clearer that climate change is neither imagined nor distant–and that rising seas are transforming the coastline of the United States in irrevocable ways. In Rising, Elizabeth Rush guides readers through some of the places where this change has been most dramatic, from the Gulf Coast to Miami, and from New York City to the Bay Area. For many of the plants, animals, and humans in these places, the options are stark: retreat or perish in place.

 

Weaving firsthand testimonials from those facing this choice–a Staten Islander who lost her father during Sandy, the remaining holdouts of a Native American community on a drowning Isle de Jean Charles, a neighborhood in Pensacola settled by escaped slaves hundreds of years ago–with profiles of wildlife biologists, activists, and other members of these vulnerable communities, Rising privileges the voices of those too often kept at the margins.

Authors Unbound

On Rising Together: Collective and creative responses to the climate crisis

What might we learn from the people living on climate change’s frontlines about the future that we share? In this talk, Elizabeth Rush will speak about a small community on the eastern shore of Staten Island–– a place that Sandy both undid and remade from the ground up––investigating the storm’s aftermath and the radical decision residents made to retreat from rising seas in an attempt to overcome their shared vulnerability. She will address whose voices have been traditionally left out of environmental discourse and how we might make this conversation more whole moving forward.

Authors Unbound

A Journey to Antarctica

This is an immersive multimedia presentation that recounts the author’s participation in a groundbreaking expedition to the calving edge of Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica. By combining rare video footage with scientific graphics and a rich narrative, Rush invites audience members to reflect on the possibility that in our climate changed world here and there are not as separate as they might seem. Can be adapted for use with young students.

Authors Unbound

On Creativity and Omission

Whose voices have historically been left out of a conversation and how can a creative project work to remedy what’s gone missing? This behind-the-scenes tour of the author’s research and writing process invites audience members to consider silence, negation, and omission as wellsprings for new work.

Authors Unbound

What we talk about when we talk about Antarctica

For most of the two hundred years since humans first saw Antarctica, the stories they’ve told have focused on conquest and extraction. But times are changing. More women make it to the last continent today than ever before, and as the climate crisis accelerates what happens in Antarctica increasingly reshapes the places we call home. In this multimedia presentation Rush recounts the past, present, and future of “the last continent,” exploring what it might look like to recognize Antarctica, itself, as an agent of change.

Authors Unbound

Op Ed 101: Whoever Tells the Story Writes History

This talk is designed to introduce audience members to the nuts and bolts of writing opinion articles for local, regional and national newsmedia. Participants will leave not just with understanding of what goes into writing an op ed but also having taken the first steps towards writing for a broad audience about a specific topic near and dear to their hearts.

Authors Unbound

Intimate Details

How does an author generate readerly attention and how can they maintain it? This interactive craft lecture (which involves a few real time writing prompts) explores the art of generating an immersive text while still giving readers space enough to think and feel for themselves.

Authors Unbound

The Art of the Interview

What goes on in a good interview and how can one prepare to conduct one? This craft lecture introduces the audience to the nuts and bolts of interviewing while also exploring the role that power and vulnerability plays in shaping this exchange.

Authors Unbound

Re-Vision

Ninety-five percent of a writer’s labor focuses on revision, but rarely do we think of it that way. In this interactive craft lecture, Rush demonstrates how radically a text ought to change from the early drafting phase, through line edits, towards a finished product. Audience members are expected to come prepared to participate by doing some real-time revision activities in small groups.

Home or High Water: Elizabeth Rush on Coastal Life in the Age of Sea Level Rise

Upcoming Events

Elizabeth News

Selected Works

Download a Reader’s Guide for Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore

Read Across Rhode Island Curriculum Guide for Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Pulitzer Prize Finalist
Science in Society Journalism Award
National Outdoor Book Award

Media Kit

By clicking the link below your will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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