Author of Environmental Nonfiction
Professor of Environmental Lit
Travels from: Minneapolis, MN

“These fine essays reopen us to the dark, where we learn courage and remember wonder.” –Stephen Trimble

Paul Bogard is the author of The Ground Beneath Us: From the Oldest Cities to the Last Wilderness, What Dirt Tells Us About Who We Are, published by Little, Brown. He is also the author of The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light, published in North America by Little, Brown, and in the UK and around the world by 4th Estate/Harper Collins. The End of Night has been translated into German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean, and is available in hardcover, e-book, paperback, and audiobook.

Paul is editor of the anthology Let There Be Night: Testimony on Behalf of the Dark, a collection of essays by twenty-eight writers on the value of darkness and the costs of light pollution. His articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Slate, Salon, Los Angeles Times, Outside, Audubon, Conservation, Reader’s Digest, National Geographic, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere.

A native Minnesotan, Paul grew up exploring the forest and watching the stars near a lake in the northern part of the state. He has lived and taught in New Mexico, Nevada, Wisconsin, and North Carolina, and is now associate professor of English at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where he teaches creative nonfiction and environmental literature.

Paul's Featured Titles

The Ground Beneath Us: From the Oldest Cities to the Last Wilderness, What Dirt Tells Us About Who We Are

Little, Brown and Company |
Scientific Nonfiction

When a teaspoon of soil contains millions of species, and when we pave over the earth on a daily basis, what does that mean for our future? What is the risk to our food supply, the planet’s wildlife, the soil on which every life-form depends? How much undeveloped, untrodden ground do we even have left?

Paul Bogard set out to answer these questions in The Ground Beneath Us, and what he discovered is astounding. From New York (where more than 118,000,000 tons of human development rest on top of Manhattan Island) to Mexico City (which sinks inches each year into the Aztec ruins beneath it), Bogard shows us the weight of our cities’ footprints. And as we see hallowed ground coughing up bullets at a Civil War battlefield; long-hidden remains emerging from below the sites of concentration camps; the dangerous, alluring power of fracking; the fragility of the giant redwoods, our planet’s oldest living things; the surprises hidden under a Major League ballpark’s grass; and the sublime beauty of our few remaining wildest places, one truth becomes blazingly clear: The ground is the easiest resource to forget, and the last we should.

Bogard’s The Ground Beneath Us is deeply transporting reading that introduces farmers, geologists, ecologists, cartographers, and others in a quest to understand the importance of something too many of us take for granted: dirt. From growth and life to death and loss, and from the subsurface technologies that run our cities to the dwindling number of idyllic Edens that remain, this is the fascinating story of the ground beneath our feet.

The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light

Back Bay Books |
Scientific Nonfiction

A deeply panoramic tour of the night, from its brightest spots to the darkest skies we have left.

A starry night is one of nature’s most magical wonders. Yet in our artificially lit world, three-quarters of Americans’ eyes never switch to night vision and most of us no longer experience true darkness. In The End of Night, Paul Bogard restores our awareness of the spectacularly primal, wildly dark night sky and how it has influenced the human experience across everything from science to art.

From Las Vegas’ Luxor Beam — the brightest single spot on this planet — to nights so starlit the sky looks like snow, Bogard blends personal narrative, natural history, science, and history to shed light on the importance of darkness — what we’ve lost, what we still have, and what we might regain — and the simple ways we can reduce the brightness of our nights tonight.

Let There Be Night: Testimony on Behalf of the Dark

U of Nevada Press |
Scientific Nonfiction

The development of the modern world has brought with it rampant light pollution, destroying the ancient mystery of night and exacting a terrible price–wasted energy, damage to human health, and the sometimes fatal interruption of the life patterns of many species of wildlife. In Let There Be Night, twenty-nine writers, scientists, poets, and scholars share their personal experiences of night and help us to understand what we miss when dark skies and nocturnal wildness vanish. They also propose ways by which we might restore the beneficence of true night skies to our cities and our culture. Let There Be Night is an engaging examination, both intimate and enlightening, of a precious aspect of the natural world. The diverse voices and perceptions gathered here provide a statement of hope that he ancient magic of night can be returned to our lives.


"Is it the End of Night?"

A talk based on The End of Night looking at the costs from light pollution and the many benefits of preserving night’s natural darkness


"The Ground Beneath Us."

A talk based on The Ground Beneath Us that shares the story of our disconnection from the ground at our feet and the benefits of reconnecting


"A Future on Fire: Birds, Australia, and Solastalgia."

This talk is based on Paul’s work for Audubon Magazine reporting from Australia on the impact from bushfire on bird populations and where to find hope for the future


"Where the Wild Things are Still: on becoming a new father in an age of climate change."

In this talk Paul tells the story of becoming a father for the first time while researching the impact from climate change to our emotional and psychological health


"Solastalgia: how to live a joyful life in a disappearing world."

In this talk Paul shares the story of his research into solastalgia (“the homesickness you feel while still at home”) and other emotions, detailing how important they will be as we experience the rapid changing of the world we love

Paul’s Recent Writing and Articles

Paul’s News Feed

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Shortlisted for the PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
Editor of the forthcoming Solastalgia: An Anthology of Emotion in a Disappearing World

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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