Robin Wall Kimmerer

Best-selling author and scientist Robin Wall Kimmerer is recipient of the 2024 Stone Award for Literary Achievement. The Stone Award recognizes major American authors with bodies of critically acclaimed work that influence multiple generations of writers, readers, and thinkers. Past recipients include writer and cartoonist Lynda Barry in 2021, novelist Colson Whitehead in 2019, and poet Rita Dove in 2016.

Kimmerer visited Oregon State’s main campus this spring to meet with students and deliver a public reading. Her reading took place on Friday, May 17 at OSU’s new Patricia Valian Reser Center for the Creative Arts (PRAx). 

“In keeping with our previous Stone Award recipients, Robin Wall Kimmerer’s selection points to the crucial role that telling stories, and teaching our students to tell stories, plays in the College of Liberal Arts,” notes Larry Rodgers, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “Like Kimmerer, we are committed to addressing the most challenging and fraught issues around residing together as humans on a precious, fragile planet.”

Kimmerer’s book, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants, has occupied a spot on the New York Times’ Best Seller List for 181 consecutive weeks. 

Her first book, Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses, is published by Oregon State University Press and is their catalog’s all-time best-selling title. 

“Robin Wall Kimmerer is not merely a writer; she's a scientist, a storyteller and a philosopher. I can't think of another author who examines the relationships between human and landscape with such wisdom and clarity—not to mention delight!” says Elena Passarello, Associate Professor and Director of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. “Welcoming her, and watching her interact with our students and community, will be the highlight of my year.”

During her visit to OSU, Kimmerer will meet with undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Writing, Literature, and Film. “This is also an opportunity to connect with students and faculty across the OSU community, particularly those in the natural sciences, who recognize the essential role of skilled writing when engaging urgent environmental issues,” adds Tim Jensen, Director of SWLF and Associate Professor, . “The shortest distance between two people is a story, and Kimmerer’s writing excels at bringing people together.”

Kimmerer is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawotami Nation, the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, and a State University of New York Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology.  

The Stone Award is one of the largest prizes of its kind given by an American university. It was established in 2011 by Patrick and Vicki Stone with a gift to the OSU Foundation to spotlight OSU's Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program in the School of Writing, Literature, and Film. Past award recipients also include Joyce Carol Oates and Tobias Wolff.

For more information, please contact Tim Jensen, Director of the School of Writing, Literature, and Film at tim.jensen@oregonstate.edu or 541-737-1634.