MURRAY, Ky. — The Department of English and Philosophy at Murray State University will host its next Reading Series event on Thursday, February 21, at 4:30 p.m. with a reading from biologist and essayist David George Haskell. The reading will be held in the Waterfield Library Gallery on the Murray State campus and is free and open to the public.

“David Haskell is a rising star in literary environmental writing,” says Carrie Jerrell, creative writing professor at Murray State. “His work includes all the rigorous research that one would expect from a scientist, but he has a poet’s ear for language. Both of his essay collections, The Forest Unseen and The Songs of Trees, are beautiful, lyrical, and compelling. He’s also a gifted, award-winning teacher, and we’re so pleased he’s part of our reading series this year.”

Haskell is the author of The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors (Viking, 2017), which examines the many ways that trees and humans are connected. The book was winner of the 2018 John Burroughs Medal, named one of the Best Science Books of 2017 by NPR’s Science Friday, selected as Favorite Science Books of 2017 by Brain Pickings, and in the 10 Best Environment, Climate Science and Conservation Books of 2017 at His first book, The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature (Viking, 2012), was winner of the National Academies’ Best Book Award and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction, among other honors.

Haskell earned his BA from the University of Oxford and his PhD from Cornell University before joining the faculty of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, as a Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies. He is also a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, and an Elective Member of the American Ornithologists’ Union. His scientific research on animal ecology, evolution, and conservation has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the World Wildlife Fund, among others. He serves on the boards and advisory committees of local and national land conservation groups.

Haskell’s classes have received national attention for the innovative ways they combine action in the community with contemplative practice. In 2009, the Carnegie and CASE Foundations named him Professor of the Year for Tennessee, an award given to college professors who have achieved national distinction and whose work shows “extraordinary dedication to undergraduate teaching.” The Oxford American has also featured him as one of the southern U.S.’s most creative teachers. His teaching has been profiled in USA Today, The Tennessean, and other newspapers.

Contact Jerrell at 270-809-4723 or for more information about any of the events in the spring 2019 Reading Series.

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