Award-Winning Outdoor and Nature Books

I’lll be adding book lists and recommendations to the site. But, alas, there will always be more than I can personally read. So, here are some outdoor, nature, science, and environmental award winners to check out.

Peruse these annual lists and you’ll never be lost for an answer to “What’s good?”

PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award

I wanted to read every one fo the finalists when I saw their list of 2020 books.

The PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award celebrates writing that exemplifies literary excellence on the subject of the physical or biological sciences and communicates complex scientific concepts to a lay audience. The PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award was founded by scientist and author Dr. Edward O. Wilson, activist and actor Harrison Ford, and the E. O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation. The award is also supported by Jim and Cathy Stone. The inaugural award was conferred in 2011. Examples of published works that exemplify the quality of writing the award is designed to acknowledge include Rachel Carlson’s Silent Spring (1962), Lewis Thomas’s The Lives of a Cell (1978), and Douglas Hofstadter’s Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (1979).

Banff Mountain Book Competition Awards

The Banff Mountain Competition is known for recognizing top outdoor books annually. Its categories include Adventure Travel, Mountain Fiction & Poetry, Guidebooks, Mountaineering Article, Mountain Environment & Natural History, Mountain Literature, Climbing Literature.

National Outdoor Book Awards

The purpose of the awards is to recognize and encourage outstanding writing and publishing.  Each fall in early November, the NOBA Foundation announces the winners of the ten categories making up the program, including History, Literature, Children, Nature, Natural History, Instructional, Adventure Guidebook, Nature Guidebook, Design, and Outdoor Classic. 

Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize

Since 1988, the Royal Society has celebrated outstanding popular science writing and authors. Over the decades, the Prize has celebrated some notable winners including Bill Bryson and Stephen Hawking, and most recently Caroline Criado Perez for bringing together compelling data showing gender biases in our world. Each year its panel of expert judges, comprising eminent scientists, authors, journalists and broadcasters, choose the book that they believe makes popular science writing compelling and accessible to the public.

Sierra Club

See what Sierra magazine is currently reviewing and recommending.

SONWA Book Awards

The Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award is given to a published book of literary nonfiction nature writing that captures the spirit of the human relationship with the natural world, and promotes the values that preserve or restore the land for future generations.

Rachel Carson Environment Book Award

The Rachel Carson Book Award is given by the Society of Environmental Journalists. The society also honors the best environmental journalism in 10 categories, and The Nina Mason Pulliam Award for the “best of the best” environmental reporting. 

ASLE Book Award

The Association for the Study of Literature and Environment book and graduate student paper awards in the areas of ecocriticism and environmental creative writing recognize excellence in the field.

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