Elizabeth Rush is the author of Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction, and Still Lifes from a Vanishing City: Essays and Photographs from Yangon, Myanmar. Her work explores how humans adapt to changes enacted upon them by forces seemingly beyond their control, from ecological transformation to political revolution. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Harper’s, The Atlantic, Pacific Standard and the New Republic, among others.
In 2019, she served as the Antarctic Artist and Writer in Residence for the National Science Foundation. She joined scientists from the United States and Great Britain aboard the R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer for a 50+ day scientific “cruise” to the Thwaites Glacier, one of the most remote regions in the world. The remote location makes conducting research on the glacier both difficult and of vital importance. To date, only 28 people have ever stood atop Thwaites. As a member of the International Thwaites Collaboration, Rush accompanied three research teams as they investigated how quickly Thwaites has retreated in the past and how quickly it is retreating now. Nicknamed the “Doomsday Glacier” by the news media, Thwaites’ deterioration destabilizes the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which is one of the largest potential contributors to sea level rise. The very rate at which Thwaites is melting will play a large role in determine the future of our coastal communities.
Rush is the recipient of numerous fellowships and grants including the Howard Foundation Fellowship awarded by Brown University, the Society for Environmental Journalism Grant, the Metcalf Institute Climate Change Adaptation Fellowship, and the Science in Society Award from the National Association of Science Writers. From 2015-2017 she served as the Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities at Bates College (2015-2017). Today she teaches creative nonfiction courses at Brown University that carry the environmental sciences and digital technologies into the humanities classroom. Recently her students interviewed fishermen in the Narragansett Bay whose lives and livelihoods are being transformed by changes in the environment.
Rush has taught at the City University of New York and Southern New Hampshire University. She received her BA in English from Reed College and her MFA in Nonfiction from Southern New Hampshire University.