Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Aimee Nezhukumatathil has been selected as Blake’s 2024 Philip Otis Environmental Author. Her residency will run April 22-25, during which time she will meet with students on all campuses, and the wider community will have opportunities to hear her speak. 

Nezhukumatathil’s illustrated collection of nature essays, “World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks and Other Astonishments,” is a New York Times best seller, the Barnes & Noble 2020 Book of the Year, an NPR Best Book of 2020, and a Kirkus Prize finalist for nonfiction. Accessible to crossover-age readers and full of beautiful illustrations, “World of Wonders” is about the way earth’s inhabitants can teach, support and inspire us. The non-fiction essays highlight science and Aimee’s experiences as a daughter of a Filipino mother and Malayali Indian father growing up in the United States. Nezhukumatathil is also a poet with collections that include “Oceanic,” “Lucky Fish,” “At the Drive-In Volcano” and “Miracle Fruit” and the chapbook “Lace & Pyrite,” co-authored with poet Ross Gay. 

In addition to being a distinguished writer, Nezhukumatathil is known as a dynamic teacher. She is professor of English and creative writing in the University of Mississippi’s MFA program and often serves as a poetry ambassador, bringing the delights and joys of reading and writing poetry to classrooms throughout the country. 

Established in 1997, the Philip Otis Environmental Authors Program promotes environmental literacy at Blake through a biannual visit from a distinguished author whose work involves environmental themes, as well as grant allocations for professional development, curriculum planning and resources or classroom experiences that further environmental literacy.

Related Events

Tuesday, April 23, 5-7pm
Northrop campus, Minneapolis

Wonderfair with Aimee Nezhukumatathil 
Join Blake and Milkweed Editions for this all-ages, family-oriented event exploring the wonders of nature. Participants will hear a conversation between author and poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil and award-winning “Brains On” science podcast host Molly Bloom ʼ01. Stop by interactive stations to explore orchids, turtles, carnivorous plants, raptors, plant-based foods, mushrooms, mosses, art in nature and more. Get inspired by the original artwork on display by Fumi Mini Nakamura that illustrates “World of Wonders.” And enjoy an ice cream sundae. Drop in, engage and experience wonder.

Free and open to all; register here.

Wednesday, April 24, 7:30-9pm
University of Minnesota, Coffman Memorial Union Theater

Aimee Nezhukumatathil and Ross Gay Reading and Conversation 
Hear from the bestselling authors of, respectively, “World of Wonders” and “The Book of Delights.” Tickets to this Esther Freier Lecture Series event are going fast; reserve yours using code "Milkweed." Questions? Contact Director of Service Learning and Community Engagement Lisa Sackreiter.

Thursday, April 25, 8:30-10am
Blake campus, Hopkins and virtual

Breakfast at Blake
Author and poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil will be the featured speaker at April’s Breakfast at Blake. During her presentation, "From Neutrons to Notebooks: A Nature Writer's Origin Story," she will talk about encouraging student curiosity and connection with the outdoors. Nezhukumatathil is Blake’s 2024 Philip Otis Environmental Author. A complimentary breakfast will be served. Register here.