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We have a winner!
Resurrection of the Wild wins 2020 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay

Mar 3rd, 2020

Fleming-PEN Award

Deborah Fleming’s stellar book of essays, Resurrection of the Wild: Meditations on Ohio’s Natural Landscape, wins the 2020 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay!

From the judges’ citation:

“In a field of writers eloquent about the pathologies of selfhood and modern life, Deborah Fleming’s Resurrection of the Wild stood apart. It is a collection of essays about the nature and natural history of her native Ohio: on its indigenous inhabitants and their fate; on the settlers who displaced them, or who, like John Chapman—’Johnny Appleseed’—tried to protect their way of life; on the early ecologists, like Aldo Leopold and Louis Bromfield, who raised an unheeded alarm against the ‘desecration’ of the land by industry and development. Towards the end of the book, Fleming writes: ‘Like careless children who waste their inheritance, we do not deserve the planet we have been given.’

“Fleming’s Ohio is a template for that planet, and her essays explore the zoology, botany, and anthropology of her home ground with astonishing specificity and Thoreauvian passion. Hummingbirds peck on her window if she is late serving up the nectar. The depradations of fracking and strip mining are described like the torture of body. We meet the Amish in all their admirable, clannish, and cagey variations. The seasons come alive and then slumber. In places, this is an elegy: ‘The earth has made us what we are, sustains us, and will take us back again when we have seen our share of passing seasons.’ Elsewhere, it is joyful and hopeful: ‘We need only look around to see that nature is trying to show us the gate that will lead us back inside.” Fleming’s work holds a key to that gate.’”

This year’s judges—Jelani Cobb, Daniel Menaker, and Judith Thurman!

A huge congratulations to Deborah and to all of the authors represented last night.

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