Elizabeth Rush

Nonfiction Writer
Pulitzer Prize Finalist
Travels from: Providence, RI

“She is generous, good-humored, incredibly energetic and delightful to work with.” — Bates College

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.

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Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore

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Hailed as “deeply felt” (New York Times), “a revelation” (Pacific Standard), and “the book on climate change and sea levels that was missing” (Chicago Tribune), Rising is both a highly original work of lyric reportage and a haunting meditation on how to let go of the places we love.


With every passing day, and every record-breaking hurricane, it grows clearer that climate change is neither imagined nor distant–and that rising seas are transforming the coastline of the United States in irrevocable ways. In Rising, Elizabeth Rush guides readers through some of the places where this change has been most dramatic, from the Gulf Coast to Miami, and from New York City to the Bay Area. For many of the plants, animals, and humans in these places, the options are stark: retreat or perish in place.


Weaving firsthand testimonials from those facing this choice–a Staten Islander who lost her father during Sandy, the remaining holdouts of a Native American community on a drowning Isle de Jean Charles, a neighborhood in Pensacola settled by escaped slaves hundreds of years ago–with profiles of wildlife biologists, activists, and other members of these vulnerable communities, Rising privileges the voices of those too often kept at the margins.

Listening at the Water’s Edge: Stories and Teachings from Communities on Climate Change’s Front Lines

On Rising: Radical Resiliency in the Era of Climate Change

From Witnessing to World-Building: Turning the Personal Political with Creative Nonfiction

Listening at the Edge: How to Make Environmental Discourse More Democratic

Testimonies of Transformation: Climate Change Narratives for a New Planet

Navigating Uncertain Terrain: Stepping into the Unknown with Narrative Nonfiction

Home in the Time of Climate Change

Rising Together: On Managed Retreat, Agency, and the Art of Listening.

Upcoming Events

Elizabeth News

Selected Works

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Pulitzer Prize Finalist
Science in Society Journalism Award
National Outdoor Book Award

Media Kit

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