Writing Nature

November 4, 2016

As part of the Pulitzer Campfires Initiative, Akiko Busch discusses the way that essay form promotes a kind of collaborative thinking, accommodating both sciences and humanities

Mining the works of groundbreaking naturalists for their ruminations on the relationship of science, literature, and human emotion, she looks for evidence of how the practice of citizen science, as it is practiced by naturalists today, generates a new manner of observation and documentation.

This project is part of a collaborative series of programs facilitated by the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prizes in 2016. An exploration of the changing nature of journalism and the humanities in the digital age, What is the 21st Century Essay? programming thematically focuses on environmental issues because of their urgency and relevance to our health, communities, and economy.


Akiko Busch writes about design, culture, and nature for a variety of publications. Her collection of essays, How to Disappear: Notes on Invisibility in a Time of Transparency was published by Penguin Press in 2019. The Incidental Steward, her essays about citizen science and stewardship, was published by Yale University Press in 2013 and awarded an Honorable Mention in the Natural History Literature category of 2013 National Outdoor Book Awards. She is also the author of Geography of Home: Writings on Where We Live, The Uncommon Life of Common Objects: Essays on Design and the Everyday, and Nine Ways to Cross a River: Midstream Reflections on Swimming and Getting There from Here.

She was a contributing editor at Metropolis magazine for twenty years, and her essays have appeared in numerous national magazines, newspapers, and exhibition catalogues. Currently she is on the faculty of the MA Design Research program at the School of Visual Arts and is a visiting teacher at Bennington College where she teaches environmental writing. Her work has been recognized by grants from the Furthermore Foundation, NYFA, and Civitella Ranieri.

She lives in the Hudson Valley and makes it a point to swim across the Hudson River once a year.

This season was generously supported by the following friends and partners:

Categories: Natural History & Science