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  • NYS Writers Institute

Leah Thomas awarded the Bruce Piasecki and Andrea Masters writing award

Award will be presented at the NYS Poet and NYS Author Induction ceremonies on Friday, Sept. 22, at the University at Albany, a kickoff event for the Albany Book Festival on Saturday, Sept. 23.

The New York State Writers Institute is proud to announce that environmental activist and author Leah Thomas is the winner of the 2023 Bruce Piasecki and Andrea Masters Annual Award on Business and Society Writing.


Thomas is the third recipient of this award that honors young authors (ages 18–35) who offer solutions to urgent problems facing American society and the world. Thomas will appear in person at two Writers Institute events.


A 2022 TIME magazine “TIME100 Next” honoree, Thomas is the author of The Intersectional Environmentalist: How to Dismantle Systems of Oppression to Protect People + Planet (2022), which examines the inextricable links between environmentalism, racism, and privilege. Yale Climate Connections said, "An essential read, this book gives voice to a movement that will define a generation." Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland website said, "The Intersectional Environmentalist is a useful start for anyone looking to get involved with or understand more about environmental justice, and who wants to learn about it through a framework that ensures the most vulnerable are centered."


A passionate advocate for exploring the relationship between social justice and environmentalism, Thomas was the first to define the term “Intersectional Environmentalism.” She is the founder of the influential social media outlets, greengirlleah and The Intersectional Environmentalist. Her articles on this topic have appeared in Vogue, Elle, The Good Trade, and Youth to the People, and she has been featured in Harper’s Bazaar, W Magazine, Domino, GOOP, Fashionista, BuzzFeed, and numerous podcasts. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from Chapman University and worked for the National Park Service and Patagonia headquarters before pursuing activism full-time. She lives in Carpinteria, California.


The $5,000 award will be presented to Leah Thomas at the New York State Author and Poet Award Ceremony, which will kick off the 2023 Albany Book Festival at 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 22, in the Campus Center West Auditorium on the University at Albany uptown campus, 1400 Washington Ave., Albany NY 12222. The ceremony is free and open to the public.


Other honorees will include Jacqueline Woodson, the newly named State Author, known for many classics of young people’s literature, including Brown Girl Dreaming; and Patricia Spears Jones, the newly named State Poet, and a major organizer of the New York City poetry scene since the 1970s.


Thomas will also appear in conversation, and answer questions about her life and work at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 23 at the 6th Annual Albany Book Festival in UAlbany’s Campus Center West Boardroom. The moderator will be UAlbany faculty member Courtney B. Ryan, author of the new book, Eco-Performance, Art, and Spatial Justice in the US (Routledge 2023).


Other honorees will include Jacqueline Woodson, the newly named State Author, known for many classics of young people’s literature, including Brown Girl Dreaming; and Patricia Spears Jones, the newly named State Poet, and a major organizer of the New York City poetry scene since the 1970s.


Previous recipients of the Bruce Piasecki and Andrea Masters Annual Award on Business and Society Writing include Daniel Sherrell in 2021, author of Warmth: Coming of Age at the End of Our World, and Jessica Hernandez in 2022, author of Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes through Indigenous Science.


Bruce Piasecki is an author, academic and environmentalist. He is the founder and president of AHC Group, a management consulting firm. His books include A New Way to Wealth: The Power of Doing More with Less (2022). His wife, Andrea Masters, is a former editor at the Adirondack Mountain Club.


Events:

  • Award presentation: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, during the State Author and State Poet installation ceremony, Campus Center West Auditorium.

  • Leah Thomas in conversation with Courtney B. Ryan: 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, Campus Center Boardroom.

  • State Author Jacqueline Woodson and State Poet Patricia Spears Jones in conversation with NYS Writers Institute Opalka Endowed Director Paul Grondahl: 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, Campus Center West Auditorium.

These events are free and open to the public, no registration required.

 

About the Albany Book Festival

Albany Book Festival

The 6th Annual Albany Book Festival will take place 10:30 a.m. through 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23, at the University at Albany. All events are free and open to the public. More information at www.albanybookfestival.com


The NYS Writers Institute is grateful for the following individuals and businesses whose donations help fund this year's Albany Book Festival.


Presenting sponsors:

Discover Albany

The Opalka Endowed Directorship

Bruce Piasecki & The Creative Force Fund

Renaissance Corporation of Albany

Times Union

University Auxiliary Services


Supporting sponsors:

Pernille Ægidius Dake

Hank Greenberg, Greenberg Traurig, LLP

The Foy Fund

Carol Hansen

Ellen Jabbur

The Lee Thaw Charitable Trust, Richard J. Miller Jr., Trustee

The Swyer Family Foundation


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