Understory and Overstory: A Retrospective
Janisse Ray is the author of five books of literary nonfiction as well as a volume of eco-poetry. Her first book, the best-selling Ecology of a Cracker Childhood (Milkweed Editions, 1999), is a memoir about growing up on a junkyard in the ruined longleaf pine ecosystem of the Southeast. It was a New York Times Notable Book and was chosen by the Georgia Center for the Book as a “Book All Georgians Should Read.” Ray holds an MFA from the University of Montana, where later she was the William Kittredge Distinguished Visiting Writer for 2014. She is a 2015 inductee into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, and she won the 2017 Southern Environmental Law Center Award in journalism for her piece on coal ash, published in The Bitter Southerner: “From Ashes Such as These, What Can Rise?” In 2019 Ray was given the Georgia Author of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award from the Georgia Writers Association.