Sharman Apt Russell

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Sharman Apt Russell
Born Sharman Apt
1954 (age 62–63)
Edwards Air Force Base, California, United States
Occupation novelist, essayist
Nationality American
Period 1980s to present
Relatives Milburn G. Apt (father)

Sharman Apt Russell (born 1954) is a nature and science writer based in New Mexico, United States. Her topics include citizen science, living in place, public lands grazing, archaeology, flowers, butterflies, hunger, and Pantheism.


Russell was born at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert in 1954, was raised in Phoenix, Arizona, and settled in southern New Mexico in 1981. Russell is the daughter of test pilot Milburn G. Apt, who was killed testing the Bell X-2 in 1956.[1]

Russell is a professor emeritus in the Humanities Department at Western New Mexico University in Silver City, where she teaches writing for graduate students.[2] Russell received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Montana and her B.S. in Conservation and Natural Resources from the University of California, Berkeley.


Russell's essays and short stories have been widely published and anthologized. Her collections of essays Songs of the Fluteplayer: Seasons of Life in the Southwest (Addison-Wesley, 1991; reprinted by University of Nebraska Press, 2000) won the 1992 Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award and New Mexico Zia Award and recounts her years as a back-to-the-lander in rural New Mexico. Standing in the Light: My Life as a Pantheist was a New Mexico Book Award finalist and one of Booklists' top ten religious books of 2008. Her new book Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing Tiger Beetles and Other New Ways of Engaging the World (Oregon State University Press, 2014) won the 2016 John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Nature Writing,[3] the WILLA Award for Creative Nonfiction,[4] a New Mexico/Arizona Finalist Award,[5] and was listed by The Guardian as one of ten top nature books in 2014.[6] Her historical fantasy Teresa of the New World (Yucca Publishing) for ages 12 and up was released in March, 2015[7] and won the Arizona Authors Award.[8] Her eco-science-fiction Knocking on Heaven's Door (Yucca Publishing) came out in 2016.[9]

Hunger: An Unnatural History (Basic Books, 2005)[10] was the result of a Rockefeller Fellowship at Bellagio, Italy, and An Obsession with Butterflies: Our Long Love Affair with a Singular Insect (Perseus Books, 2003) was a pick of independent booksellers in the Summer 2003 Book Sense 76. Anatomy of a Rose: Exploring the Secret Life of Flowers has been translated into Korean, Chinese, Swedish, German, Spanish, and Portuguese, with other books also translated into Russian and Italian. Other awards for Russell are a Pushcart Prize, the Henry Joseph Jackson Award, and the Writers at Work Award. The Last Matriarch (University of New Mexico Press, 2000) is a novel about Paleolithic life in New Mexico some 11,000 years ago. The Humpbacked Fluteplayer (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1994) is a fantasy for ages 8–12.


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