Local author Thor Hanson is the 2013 winner of the prestigious John Burroughs Medal Award for his book Feathers (Basic Books/Perseus Books Group, 2011).
In its announcement the John Burroughs Association stated: To read this book is to immerse yourself in the cozy delights of a down comforter, while stimulating your intellect with pure fascination. The stories in Feathers are told with all the precision and beauty of a finely cut quill pen.
As one juror described it, "this book is great natural history with intense focus and telescopic detail. It soars through an engaging blend of history, archaeology, animal behavior, art, physics, and conservation. Uplifting, swift, learned, and fun," it takes you from the wildest of natural habitats to Las Vegas dance halls, and from museum vaults to houses of haute couture.
Hanson is lauded by the selection committee as one of our strongest winners for his excellence in the tradition of natural history writing. Hanson is an independent conservation biologist and author who lives with his familyon San Juan Island. He has studied Central American trees and songbirds, nest predation in Tanzania, and the grisly feeding habits of African vultures. He is the author of The Impenetrable Forest: My Gorilla Years in Uganda.
The John Burroughs Medal Award was created 87 years ago to honor the best in nature writing, a genre perfected by John Burroughs. The Award has been given annually since 1926 to books that combine scientific accuracy, firsthand fieldwork, and excellent natural history writing.
Past Burroughs medalists include Rachel Carson, Joseph Wood Krutch, Loren Eiseley, Paul Brooks, John Hay, Ann Zwinger, Barry Lopez, Gary Nabhan, Robert Michael Pyle, Richard Nelson, Carl Safina, Ted Levin, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Julia Whitty, Franklin Burroughs, Michael Welland, Elisabeth Tova Bailey, and Edward Hoagland.
The award will be given on Monday, April 1, during the annual literary awards ceremony of the John Burroughs Association at a reservations-only public luncheon at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
For more information about the John Burroughs Association, along with a listing of the Medal Award recipients, visit the association's website at www.research.amnh.org/burroughs. For luncheon reservations, please contact Lisa Breslof at 212-769-5169.