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2008 Orion Book Award Winner

April 1, 2008

The winner of the 2008 Orion Book Award is:

The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story
Diane Ackerman
(W.W. Norton)

The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story

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See some photos from the event here.

The Zookeeper’s Wife is a groundbreaking work of nonfiction,” said selection committee member Mark Kurlansky, “in which the human relationship to nature is explored in an absolutely original way through looking at the Holocaust.”

Kathleen Dean Moore, the committee’s chairperson, said: “A few years ago, ‘nature’ writers were asking themselves, How can a book be at the same time a work of art, an act of conscientious objection to the destruction of the world, and an affirmation of hope and human decency? The Zookeeper’s Wife answers this question.”

The author was presented with a prize of $3,000 on April 16 at Reeves Contemporary Gallery, 535 West 24th Street, 2nd Floor, New York, New York, from 5:30–8:00 p.m. The event was open to the public.

2008 Award Finalists


The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story
Diane Ackerman
(W.W. Norton)

Strange as This Weather Has Been: A Novel
Ann Pancake
(Counterpoint)

The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring
Richard Preston
(Random House)

Sky Time in Gray's River: Living for Keeps in a Forgotten Place
Robert Michael Pyle
(Houghton Mifflin)

The World Without Us
Alan Weisman
(Thomas Dunne Books)

The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story

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Strange as This Weather Has Been: A Novel

Book  Image

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The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring

Book  Image

Buy from Amazon

Buy from an Independent

Sky Time in Gray's River: Living for Keeps in a Forgotten Place

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The World Without Us

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The Orion Book Award is conferred annually to a book that deepens our connection to the natural world, presents new ideas about our relationship with nature, and achieves excellence in writing.

2008 Award Judges


Linda Hogan is a Chickasaw essayist, novelist, poet, and playwright whose books include Dwellings, Solar Storms, and the forthcoming novel People of the Whale. She is in the process of moving to the Chickasaw Nation, where she will be writer-in-residence.

Mark Kurlansky is the author of Cod, Salt, 1968, The Big Oyster, and, most recently, Nonviolence. His forthcoming book The Last Fish Tale is about the linked fate of the Atlantic fishery and the seaport of Gloucester, Massachusetts.

Kathleen Dean Moore is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Oregon State University and the founding director of the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word. She is also the author of three books of essays: The Pine Island Paradox, Holdfast, and Riverwalking.

David Rothenberg is a philosopher, musician, and author of Always the Mountains, Hand’s End, Why Birds Sing, and the forthcoming Thousand-Mile Song. He is associate professor of philosophy at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and the editor of the Terra Nova book series, published by MIT Press.

Jennifer Sahn is editor of Orion magazine. Articles she has edited have received the Pushcart Prize, the John Burroughs Essay Award, and have been reprinted in Best American Science and Nature Writing, Best Creative Nonfiction, and numerous other periodicals. She has also served as editor for several book projects.

Orion Readers’ Choice Award Winner


Sky Time in Gray's River: Living for Keeps in a Forgotten Place
Robert Michael Pyle
(Houghton Mifflin)

Sky Time in Gray's River: Living for Keeps in a Forgotten Place

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More about the Orion Book Award »

Past Orion Book Award winners »