Elizabeth Kolbert

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Elizabeth Kolbert
Born (1961-07-06) July 6, 1961 (age 55)
Residence Williamstown, Massachusetts
Nationality American
Other names Betsy
Alma mater Yale University
Occupation Journalist and author
Spouse(s) John Kleiner
Awards Heinz Award (2010)
Pulitzer Prize (2015)

Elizabeth Kolbert (born 1961) is an American journalist and author and professor at Williams College. She is best known for her 2006 book Field Notes from a Catastrophe, and as an observer and commentator on environmentalism for The New Yorker magazine.[1] She received the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for her book, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History.[2]

Youth and education[edit]

Kolbert spent her early childhood in the Bronx, New York; her family then relocated to Larchmont, New York, 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 the 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.[1]

She received a Lannan Literary Fellowship in 2006. She served as a judge for the PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award in 2012.[3] She received the Sam Rose and Julie Walters Prize for Global Environmental Activism at Dickinson College in 2016.

Personal life[edit]

Kolbert resides in Williamstown, Massachusetts, with her husband, John Kleiner, and three sons.[4] She appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on February 11, 2014, to discuss her book The Sixth Extinction.



Essays and reporting[edit]


  • 2005 American Association for the Advancement of Science Journalism Award[9]
  • 2006 National Magazine Award for Public Interest[10]
  • 2006 Lannan Literary Fellowship[11]
  • 2006 National Academies Communication Award[12]
  • 16th Annual Heinz Award (with special focus on global change), 2010[13]
  • 2010 National Magazine Award for Commentary[14]
  • 2010 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in Science Writing [15]
  • 2015 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction [16]
  • 2016 Sam Rose '58 and Julie Walters Prize at Dickinson College for Environmental Activism [17]


  1. ^ a b "Contributors: Elizabeth Kolbert". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 27, 2009. 
  2. ^ http://www.pulitzer.org/citation/2015-General-Nonfiction Pulitzer citation
  3. ^ "Announcing the 2012 PEN Literary Award Recipients". PEN American Center. October 15, 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Author Profile: Elizabeth Kolbert", Simon & Schuster
  5. ^ Marina, Gosnell (March 16, 2006). "In Epoch of Man, Earth Takes a Beating". The New York Times. Retrieved February 26, 2014. In a final chapter on the "Anthropocene," a newly minted term meaning the geological epoch defined by man, Ms. Kolbert turns from her mostly unbiased field reporting to give her own opinion. She is not optimistic, in large part because it appears that Anthropocene man can't be counted on to do the right thing. "It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself," she writes, "but that is what we are now in the process of doing." 
  6. ^ "The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2009". Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 
  7. ^ World Archipelago. "Macmillan". macmillan.com. 
  8. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/16/books/review/the-sixth-extinction-by-elizabeth-kolbert.html?hpw&rref=books&_r=0
  9. ^ "AAAS Science Journalism Award Recipients". aaas.org. 
  10. ^ "National Magazine Awards 2006 Winners Announced at 40th Anniversary Celebration". magazine.org. 
  11. ^ "Elizabeth Kolbert". lannan.org. 
  12. ^ "National Academies Keck Futures Initiative - -". keckfutures.org. 
  13. ^ "The Heinz Awards: Elizabeth Kolbert". The Heinz Awards. The Heinz Awards. Retrieved August 26, 2016. 
  14. ^ "ASME Announces the Winners of the 2010 National Magazine Awards". magazine.org. 
  15. ^ http://www.gf.org/fellows/16807-elizabeth-kolbert
  16. ^ "The Pulitzer Prizes - Citation". pulitzer.org. 
  17. ^ https://www.dickinson.edu/homepage/749/the_sam_rose_58_and_julie_walters_prize_at_dickinson_college_for_global_environmental_activism

External links[edit]