Elizabeth Kolbert

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Elizabeth Kolbert
Elizabeth Kolbert 0350.JPG
Born (1961-07-06) July 6, 1961 (age 61)
Alma materYale University
OccupationJournalist and author
Spouse(s)John Kleiner

Elizabeth Kolbert (born 1961) is an American journalist, author, and visiting fellow at Williams College. She is best known for her Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History,[1] and as an observer and commentator on environmentalism for The New Yorker magazine.[2] Like The Sixth Extinction, her writing and other books, such as Field Notes from a Catastrophe and Under a White Sky often explore the crisis faced by humans in the Anthropocene.

Kolbert served as a member of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' Science and Security Board from 2017-2020.[3]

Early life[edit]

Kolbert spent her early childhood in the Bronx; her family then relocated to Larchmont, where she remained until 1979.

After graduating from Mamaroneck High School, Kolbert spent four years studying literature at Yale University. In 1983, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study at Universität Hamburg, in Germany.


Elizabeth Kolbert started working for The New York Times as a stringer in Germany in 1983. In 1985 she went to work for the Metro desk. Kolbert served as the Times' Albany bureau chief from 1988 to 1991 and wrote the Metro Matters column from 1997 to 1998.

Since 1999, she has been a staff writer for The New Yorker.[2]

She was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for The Sixth Extinction in 2015.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Kolbert resides in Williamstown, Massachusetts, with her husband, John Kleiner, and three sons.[5]


  • 2005 American Association for the Advancement of Science Journalism Award[6]
  • 2006 National Magazine Award for Public Interest[7]
  • 2006 Lannan Literary Fellowship[8]
  • 2006 National Academies Communication Award[9]
  • 16th Annual Heinz Award with special focus on global change, 2010[10]
  • 2010 National Magazine Award for Commentary[11]
  • 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship in Science Writing[12]
  • 2015 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction[13]
  • 2016 Sam Rose '58 and Julie Walters Prize at Dickinson College for Environmental Activism[14]
  • 2017 SEAL Environmental Journalism Award[15]
  • Blake-Dodd Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2017.[16]



  • Kolbert, Elizabeth (2004). The prophet of love : and other tales of power and deceit. New York: Bloomsbury.
  • — (2006). Field notes from a catastrophe : man, nature, and climate change. New York: Bloomsbury.
  • Kolbert, Elizabeth & Francis Spufford, eds. (2007). The ends of the Earth : an anthology of the finest writing on the Arctic and the Antarctic. 1st U.S. ed. New York: Bloomsbury.
  • Kolbert, Elizabeth, ed. (2009). The best American science and nature writing 2009. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  • — (2014). The sixth extinction : an unnatural history.
  • — (2021). Under a white sky. Penguin Random House.

Essays and reporting[edit]

Introductions, forewords and other contributions[edit]

  • Van Gelder, Gordon, ed. (2011). Welcome to the greenhouse : new science fiction on climate change. Preface by Elizabeth Kolbert. New York: OR Books.

Critical studies and reviews of Kolbert's work[edit]

Field notes from a catastrophe
The sixth extinction

Under a White Sky


  1. ^ "2015 Pulitzer Prizes". www.pulitzer.org.
  2. ^ a b "Contributors: Elizabeth Kolbert". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 27, 2009.
  3. ^ "Science and Security Board". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. March 30, 2017.
  4. ^ "The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert (Henry Holt)". The Pulitzer Prizes. Pulitzer.org. 2015. Retrieved July 24, 2021.
  5. ^ "Elizabeth Kolbert". Simon & Schuster. November 14, 2012. Archived from the original on July 25, 2021. Retrieved July 25, 2021.
  6. ^ "AAAS Science Journalism Award Recipients". aaas.org.
  7. ^ "National Magazine Awards 2006 Winners Announced at 40th Anniversary Celebration". magazine.org.
  8. ^ "Elizabeth Kolbert". lannan.org.
  9. ^ "National Academies Keck Futures Initiative - -". keckfutures.org.
  10. ^ "The Heinz Awards: Elizabeth Kolbert". The Heinz Awards. The Heinz Awards. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  11. ^ "ASME Announces the Winners of the 2010 National Magazine Awards". magazine.org.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "The Pulitzer Prizes - Citation". pulitzer.org.
  14. ^ Getty, Matt. "The Sam Rose '58 and Julie Walters Prize at Dickinson College for Global Environmental Activism". www.dickinson.edu.
  15. ^ "2017 SEAL Environmental Journalism Award Winners - SEAL Awards". SEAL Awards. September 26, 2017. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  16. ^ "Search Results for "kolbert" – American Academy of Arts and Letters". artsandletters.org. American Academy of Arts and Letters. n.d. Retrieved July 24, 2021.
  17. ^ On White nose syndrome.
  18. ^ The Paleolithic Diet.
  19. ^ Beecher's Trilobite Bed.
  20. ^ Renzo Piano.
  21. ^ Title in the online table of contents is "Paris, Syria, and climate change".
  22. ^ Online version is titled "Morgan Freeman's 'Ben-Hur'".
  23. ^ Online version is titled "Our automated future".
  24. ^ Online version is titled "James Turrell makes light physical".
  25. ^ Online version is titled "Climate change and the new age of extinction".
  26. ^ Online version is titled "The art of building artificial glaciers".
  27. ^ Online version is titled "What will another decade of climate crisis bring?".
  28. ^ Title in the online table of contents is "The climate expert who delivered news no one wanted to hear".
  29. ^ Originally published in the June 29, 2009 issue.

External links[edit]

Media related to Elizabeth Kolbert at Wikimedia Commons