WCS’s Jonathan Slaght has won the PEN America/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award for his book “Owls of the Eastern Ice,” which chronicles his efforts in the Russian Far East to save Blakiston’s fish owl, the world’s largest owl species.

The prestigious award was given for “work that exemplifies literary excellence on the subject of the physical or biological sciences and communicates complex scientific concepts to a lay audience.”

In presenting the award, the judges wrote: “It is an honor to present the 2021 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award to Jonathan C. Slaght for his fascinating chronicle following the elusive Blakiston’s fish owl. In beautiful and lyrical prose, Slaght presents a detailed and absorbing account of the joys and challenges of a conservation biologist. His lush narrative transports the reader to the wilds of Eastern Russia, chronicling the harsh winters and winds, and the utter joy of owl duets. This is a compelling book that deftly weaves the cultural challenges of field research, and the entangled worlds of humans, technology, and nature with novelistic dexterity.”

You can see Slaght’s acceptance speech here.