Orion's "Spark Birds" Writing Anthology and Virtual Launch


Orion's "Spark Birds" Writing Anthology and Virtual Launch

Finch with red, yellow, black, brown patches sits on branch with red and pink flowers.

Orion's latest anthology, Spark Birds, is now available ($22.00). This collection gathers the best stories, essays, and poems about birds from forty years of Orion. In it you’ll find owls, cranes, thrushes, finches, penguins, petrels, and buzzards—and the people who love them, including Brian Doyle, John Freeman, Elizabeth Kolbert, J. Drew Lanham, Mary Oliver, Emily Raboteau, Sandra Steingraber, and Terry Tempest Williams. Coedited and introduced by Jonathan Franzen.

Join the virtual launch event:

Wednesday, August 30th | 3 p.m. EDT | via Zoom

To celebrate the launch of Spark Birds, Orion has partnered with BirdLife International to present a virtual conversation between best-selling novelist and birder Jonathan Franzen and ornithologist, author, and MacArthur Fellow J. Drew Lanham. 

Franzen and Lanham will discuss their love of birds and how writing and art about our avian friends can inspire people to think more deeply about environmental threats while encouraging us to look more mindfully at the skies above. 

The event will be moderated by Orion editor-at-large and Spark Birds coeditor Christopher Cox.



J. Drew Lanham (who serves on the NAAEE Advisory Council) is a Professor of Cultural & Conservation Ornithology at Clemson University and the Poet Laureate of Edgefield County, South Carolina. His books, Sparrow Envy–A Field Guide to Birds and Lesser Beasts and The Home Place - Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature, explore the subjects of wildlife and wildlands conservation through the prisms of race, place, and nature.

Drew is also a 2022 MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, a curator with several museums, and an evolving librettist with a poem about whimbrels that’s in the process of becoming an operetta with composer Gabriella Lena Frank. His forthcoming books include a collection of poetry entitled Joy is the Justice We Give Ourselves, a children’s book called The Bird I Became, and an eco-memoir entitled Range Maps - Birds, Blackness and Loving Nature Between the Two.

Jonathan Franzen is the author of six novels and five works of nonfiction, most recently The End of the End of the Earth. Franzen is the recipient of a National Book Award for fiction, the EuroNatur Prize for his work in conservation, and the Utah Award in the Environmental Humanities. He has written extensively, for National Geographic and other publications, about birds and the threats to them.

Christopher Cox is an editor-at-large at Orion and the author of the book The Deadline Effect.