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Diane Ackerman

Author of The Zookeeper's Wife

46+ Works 11,934 Members 304 Reviews 42 Favorited

About the Author

Diane Ackerman was born on October 7, 1948 in Waukegan, Illinois. She received a B.A. in English from Pennsylvania State University and her M.A., M.F.A., and Ph.D. in English from Cornell University. Poet, author, educator, adventurer, and naturalist, she tries to bridge science and art in her show more writing, exploring questions of who we are, where we come from, and how we fit into the fabric of the world. She has written many books of poetry including The Planets: A Cosmic Pastoral; Wife of Light; Jaguar of Sweet Laughter: New and Selected Poems; Origami Bridges: Poems of Psychoanalysis and Fire; and I Praise My Destroyer. Her nonfiction works include A Natural History of the Senses; A Natural History of Love; The Moon by Whale Light: And Other Adventures Among Bats, Crocodilians, Penguins, and Whales; An Alchemy of Mind; and On Extended Wings. She also writes nature books for children including Animal Sense; Monk Seal Hideaway; and Bats: Shadows in the Night. She is coeditor of a Norton anthology, The Book of Love. Her essays about nature and human nature have appeared in Parade, National Geographic, The New York Times, and The New Yorker magazines. She hosted a five-hour PBS television series inspired by A Natural History of the Senses. She received the Orion Book Award for The Zookeepers Wife. Her other awards include the Abbie Copps Poetry Prize, Black Warrior Poetry Prize, Pushcart Prize, Peter I. B. Lavan award, and the Wordsmith award. She has taught at a variety of universities, including Columbia and Cornell. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Library of Congress

Works by Diane Ackerman

The Zookeeper's Wife (2007) 4,655 copies
A Natural History of the Senses (1990) — Author — 2,858 copies
A Natural History Of Love (1994) 778 copies
Deep Play (1999) 245 copies
The Book of Love (1998) 139 copies
I Praise My Destroyer: Poems (1998) 107 copies
Animal Sense (2003) 63 copies
Bats - Shadows In The Night (1997) 30 copies
Monk Seal Hideaway (1995) 13 copies
Wife of light: [poems] (1978) 7 copies
Lady Faustus (1983) 7 copies
NOVA: Mystery of the Senses: Hearing [1995 TV episode] (1995) — Narrator / Screenwriter — 6 copies
NOVA: Mystery of the Senses: Vision [1995 TV episode] (1995) — Narrator / Screenwriter — 5 copies
NOVA: Mystery of the Senses [1995 TV series] (1995) — Narrator / Screenwriter — 5 copies
NOVA: Mystery of the Senses: Touch [1995 TV episode] (2007) — Narrator / Screenwriter — 4 copies
NOVA: Mystery of the Senses: Smell [1995 TV episode] (2007) — Narrator / Screenwriter — 3 copies
Zoologico de Varsovia, O (2017) 3 copies
Azyl (Polish Edition) (2017) 1 copy

Associated Works

The Future Dictionary of America (2004) — Contributor — 621 copies
The Best American Essays 2001 (2001) — Contributor — 234 copies
A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader (2018) — Contributor — 223 copies
The Best American Science Writing 2005 (2005) — Contributor — 190 copies
The Best American Science Writing 2004 (2004) — Contributor — 151 copies
The Curious Naturalist (1980) — Contributor — 146 copies
Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women and Animals (1998) — Contributor — 121 copies
The Zookeeper's Wife [2017 film] (2017) — Original book — 82 copies
60 Years of American Poetry (1996) — Contributor — 28 copies
The Gardener's Bedside Reader (2008) — Contributor — 20 copies
In Our Nature: Stories of Wildness (2000) — Foreword — 18 copies
Night: A Literary Companion (2009) — Contributor — 8 copies
The Umbral Anthology of Science Fiction Poetry (1982) — Contributor — 8 copies
Reader's Digest Today's Best Nonfiction 43 (1997) — Author — 3 copies


animals (190) anthology (175) anthropology (71) biography (149) biology (184) books about books (65) brain (60) essays (430) fiction (202) gardening (80) historical fiction (72) history (360) Holocaust (307) humor (88) Jews (92) literature (67) love (68) memoir (113) natural history (268) nature (342) nature writing (48) NF (53) non-fiction (1,241) own (50) philosophy (56) poetry (269) Poland (279) politics (52) psychology (182) read (101) reference (59) science (527) senses (114) to-read (666) unread (103) Warsaw (102) women (61) writing (112) WWII (460) zoo (143)

Common Knowledge

Legal name
Ackerman, Diane
Other names
Ackermann, Diane
Waukegan, Illinois, USA
Places of residence
Ithaca, New York, USA
Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA
Pennsylvania State University (BA | 1970 - English)
Cornell University (MFA | 1973 | MA | 1976 | PhD | 1978 - English)
professor of English
West, Paul (husband) (1)
Sagan, Carl (doctoral advisor)
Authors Guild
Columbia University
Cornell University
The New Yorker
University of Pittsburgh
Awards and honors
Guggenheim Fellowship
John Burroughs Nature Award
Lavan Poetry Prize
New York Public Library Literary Lion
Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award (1985)
Fellow, New York Institute for the Humanities (show all 7)
American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2016)
Suzanne Gluck (William Morris Agency)
Alison Granucci (Blue Flower Arts)
Short biography
Diane Ackerman is the author of two dozen highly-acclaimed works of poetry and nonfiction, including the bestsellers "The Zookeeper's Wife" and "A Natural History of the Senses," and the Pulitzer Prize Finalist, "One Hundred Names for Love."

In her most recent book, "The Human Age: the World Shaped by Us," she confronts the unprecedented fact that the human race is now the single dominant force of change on the whole planet. Humans have "subdued 75 percent of the land surface, concocted a wizardry of industrial and medical marvels, strung lights all across the darkness." Ackerman takes us on an exciting journey to understand this bewildering new reality, introducing us to many of the inspiring people and ideas now creating, and perhaps saving, our future

A note from the author: "I find that writing each book becomes a mystery trip, one filled with mental (and sometimes physical) adventures. The world revealing itself, human nature revealing itself, is seductive and startling, and that's always been fascinating enough to send words down my spine. Please join me on my travels. I'd enjoy the company."

Contact me or follow my posts here: www.dianeackerman.com, @dianesackerman, www.facebook.com/dianeackerman.aut



A fine read. Not just nature facts, but a great job of bringing you right into nature. And all the while, a fine thread of conservation woven through by reasoning, not moralizing.
BBrookes | 12 other reviews | Dec 5, 2023 |
I thought the story was very moving and that the Zabinskis where very interseting people. I realize it is a true story but I wish it were written a little bit more like a novel and less like a History book. I would have liked to have heard more about this incredible family and the inhabitants of the villa rather than the events of the war, but at the end of the day I'm glad I read it.
jskeltz | 192 other reviews | Nov 23, 2023 |
After watching the movie, which I thought was excellent, I read the book, which I also thought was excellent, but not exactly what I thought it was going to be....just another historical novel.

This is actually a true story of the life of Jan Zabinski and his wife, Antonina, written from the author's point of view, using Jan and Antonina's journals during World War II. It is evident that God must have placed them in just the right place to be able to hide and save hundreds of Jews from death. They also had the right temperament to pull it off.

A lot of research went into their story as the author seamlessly intertwined quotes from their journals and at the same time adding other stories in Warsaw as they unfolded. She also captured the family's love of animals so well. She personalized and gave life to this writing. You will even find a few family photos of Jan & Antonina. She did describe quite a few photos in the story that she had seen but weren't included in the book. I wonder where we can find those photos? If only all history could be told in this manner.

At the end of the book, the author lets you know what happens to Jan and Antonina, and her family, as well as a few other people, after the war. She was also able to travel back to Warsaw and see some of the damage that still remains today, and writes of how they have progressed in building back the city and capital of Poland.
… (more)
MissysBookshelf | 192 other reviews | Aug 27, 2023 |
It's hard to believe it's been 25 years since I read A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman. In her latest work The Human Age she talks about how much we have changed and shaped the world in just a short period of time. The change has indeed been vast and continues to accelerate. But one thing that hasn't changed is how wonderful Ackerman writes. I simply can not think of another author who waxes so poetic while writing about science. With each page I'm enthralled by both the beauty and brilliance of her words. By all means, read this book. And be prepared, to be not just richly educated, but totally amazed.… (more)
kevinkevbo | 10 other reviews | Jul 14, 2023 |



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Associated Authors

Larry Klein Director
Paula Apsell Director
Peter Jones Director
Alan Kwan Creator
Jan ZABINSKI Associated Name
Antonina ZABINSKA Associated Name
Amy Bais Translator
Patti Ratchford Cover designer
Suzanne Toren Narrator
JoAnne Metsch Designer


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