Ben Ehrenreich is awarded the American Book Award for Desert Notebooks

By Spenser Stevens | August 27 2021 | GeneralLiterature

Ben Ehrenreich is being awarded the American Book Award for Desert Notebooks, which examines how the unprecedented pace of destruction to our environment and an increasingly unstable geopolitical landscape have led us to the brink of a calamity greater than any humankind has confronted before. Ehrenreich draws on the stark grandeur of the desert to ask how we might reckon with the uncertainty that surrounds us and fight off the crises that have already begun.


“A beautifully meditative and searingly honest account of life at the end of time. Writing to us from the desert, our past and future both, Ehrenreich draws connections between colonial expansion, racist laws, environmental predations, climate change, and unrelenting human greed.”—Laila Lalami, citation for the American Book Award


“This haunting meditation on terminal capitalism and its unthinkable future clearly establishes its author as one of our greatest essayists, wholly contemporary with these strange times.”—Mike Davis, citation for the American Book Award


“These are the kind of conversations we need to be having–with ourselves and with others. And the desert seems like the right austere setting to be having them. These fine essays take a deep tradition in American writing and extend it into our uncertain and collapsing present. —Bill McKibben, citation for the American Book Award


The American Book Awards were created to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community.

The 2021 American Book Award winners will be formally recognized on Sunday, September 19, 2021 online:

Zoom Registration

YouTube Event


Ben Ehrenreich writes about climate change for The Nation. His work has appeared in Harper’s MagazineThe New York Times Magazinethe London Review of Books, and Los Angeles magazine. In 2011, he was awarded a National Magazine Award. His last book, The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine, based on his reporting from the West Bank, was one of The Guardian‘s Best Books of 2016. He is also the author of two novels, Ether and The Suitors.


Desert Notebooks
A Road Map for the End of Time
Layering climate science, mythologies, nature writing, and personal experiences, National Magazine Award winner Ben Ehrenreich presents a stunning reckoning with our current moment and with the literal and figurative end of time--"a beautiful meditation on adapting to future cataclysm" (Publishers Weekly).
$16.95 US
Jul 06, 2021
336 Pages

The Way to the Spring
Life and Death in Palestine
A brave and necessary immersion into the lives and struggles of a group of everyday Palestinians
$19.00 US
Aug 01, 2017
464 Pages
Penguin Books