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Janisse Ray

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Subject: Camas (magazine), The Fourth River, Baxley, Georgia, Ray (surname), American nature writers
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Janisse Ray

Janisse Ray
A smiling woman with slightly graying hair, in a maroon print blouse with a small string of pearls sits outside in front of a building.
Ray in May 2010; Picture supplied by Janisse Ray
Born (1962-02-02) February 2, 1962
Occupation Professor, environmental activist
Language English
Nationality USA
Citizenship USA
Education BA, Florida State, 1984; MFA, Montana, 1997
Period Contemporary
Genre memoirs
Subject nature
Notable works Ecology of a Cracker Childhood
Notable awards American Book Award, Southern Book Critics Circle Award, Southern Environmental Law Center Award for Outstanding Writing on the Southern environment

Janisse Ray (born 1962) is an American writer, naturalist, and environmental activist.

She attended Florida State University, BA, 1984; and the University of Montana, MFA, 1997.

Her first book, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, recounts her experiences growing up in a junkyard, the daughter of a poor, white, fundamentalist Christian family. The book interweaves family history and

Ray's second book, Wild Card Quilt, recounts her experiences of moving back home to Montana.

Her third book, Pinhook, tells the story of Pinhook Swamp, the land that connects the Osceola National Forest in Florida

Her fourth book, Drifting into Darien, published in 2011, describes her experiences on and knowledge about the mighty Darien.

Ray published a book of poetry, A House of Branches, in 2010, and has been a contributor to Audubon, Orion, and other magazines, as well as a commentator for NPR's Living on Earth. An environmental activist, she has campaigned on behalf of the Altamaha River and the Moody Swamp.

She teaches in the Chatham University Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing.

She was born on February 2 in Baxley, Georgia the daughter of Franklin D. and Lee Ada Branch Ray. She has a son, Silas Ausable who attended the University of Massachusetts. As a student there he studied landscape architecture.


  • Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, memoir (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2000).
  • Wild Card Quilt: Taking a Chance on Home, memoir (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2003).
  • Between Two Rivers: Stories from the Red Hills to the Gulf, (Co-editor, with Susan Cerulean and Laura Newtown) nonfiction (Tallahassee: Heart of the Earth, 2004).
  • Pinhook: Finding Wholeness in a Fragmented Land,, nonfiction (White River Junction: Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 2005).
  • A House of Branches,, poetry (Nicholasville: Wind Publications, 2010).
  • Drifting into Darien: a Personal and Natural History of the Altamaha River, nonfiction (Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2011).
  • The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food, nonfiction (White River Junction: Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 2012).


Source: Contemporary Authors Online. The Gale Group, 2005.

External links

  • Milkweed Editions webpage for Ecology of a Cracker Childhood
  • Wind Publications webpage for House of Branches
  • Georgia Encyclopedia entry for Janisse Ray
  • Whole Terrain link to Ray's articles published in Whole Terrain
  • Janisse Ray and Nancy Marshall, "James Holland, Riverkeeper: Environmental Protection Along the Altamaha", Southern Spaces, 11 August 2011.
  • Janisse Ray, "The Seed Underground"Sowing , Southern Spaces, 23 October 2012.
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