Michael PollanAuthor, Journalist, Activist, and Professor
For more than thirty years, Michael Pollan has been writing books and articles about the places where nature and culture intersect: on our plates, in our farms and gardens, and in our minds. He is the author of the new book How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence and five New York Times bestsellers: Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (2013), Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (2010); In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (2008); The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006) and The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World (2001). The Omnivore’s Dilemma was named one of the ten best books of 2006 by both the New York Times and the Washington Post. It also won the California Book Award, the Northern California Book Award, the James Beard Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. A young readers edition was published in 2009. The Botany of Desire received the Borders Original Voices Award for the best non-fiction work of 2001, and was recognized as a best book of the year by the American Booksellers Association and Amazon.com. Pollan is also the author of A Place of My Own (1997) and Second Nature (1991).
Several of his books have been adapted for television. Netflix created a four-part documentary series based on Cooked in 2016, and documentary adaptations of In Defense of Food (2015) and The Botany of Desire (2009) both premiered on PBS. Pollan also appeared in the Academy Award nominated 2009 feature documentary, Food Inc. In 2015-2016, Pollan was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. In 2013, he was awarded Italy’s Premio Nonino prize. In 2012, he was given the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Biology Teachers. In 2010, Pollan was named to the 2010 TIME 100, the magazine’s annual list of the world’s 100 most influential people. Also in 2010 he was also awarded the Lennon Ono Grant for
Peace by Yoko Ono. In 2009 he was named by Newsweek as one of the top 10 “New Thought Leaders.”
A contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine since 1987, his writing has received numerous awards: he was a finalist for the National Magazine Award in 2009 for best essay; he received the James Beard Award for best magazine series in 2003; the John Burroughs prize in 1997 for best natural history essay; the QPB New Vision Award for his first book, Second Nature; the 2000 Reuters-I.U.C.N. Global Award for Environmental Journalism for his reporting on genetically modified crops; the 2003 Humane Society of the United States’ Genesis Award for his writing on animal agriculture; the 2008 Truth in Agricultural Journalism Award from the American Corngrowers Association; the 2009 President’s Citation Award from the American Institute of Biological Sciences, and the 2009 Voices of Nature Award from the Natural Resources Defense Council. His essays have appeared in many anthologies, including Best American Essays (1990 and 2003), Best American Science Writing (2004), the Norton Book of Nature Writing, and The New Kings of Non-Fiction, edited by Ira Glass. In addition to publishing regularly in The New York Times Magazine, his articles have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine (where he served as executive editor from 1984 to 1994), National Geographic, Mother Jones, The Nation, The New York Review of Books, Vogue, Travel + Leisure, Gourmet, House & Garden and Gardens Illustrated, among others. In 2009, he appeared in a two-hour PBS special based on The Botany of Desire as well as in the documentary, Food Inc., which received an Academy Award nomination.
Pollan is currently the Lewis K. Chan Arts Lecturer and Professor of the Practice of NonFiction at Harvard University. Since 2003, Pollan has held the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. In addition to teaching, he lectures widely on food, agriculture, health and the environment. Michael Pollan, who was born in 1955, grew up on Long Island, and was educated at Bennington College, Oxford University, and Columbia University, from which he received a Master’s in English. He lives in the Bay Area with his wife, the painter Judith Belzer.