Writer Profile

Picture of Susan Cerulean

Susan Cerulean

Short Biography:
Susan Cerulean is the director of the Red Hills Writers Project, and very recently edited with Janisse Ray and Laura Newton, Between Two Rivers: Stories from the Red Hills to the Gulf. This locally-acclaimed anthology brought together personal essays written by 29 of the area's best writers and naturalists.

Cerulean has also edited The Book of the Everglades (Milkweed Editions) and The Wild Heart of Florida (University Press of Florida), and Guide to the Great Florida Birding Trail: East Section; with Ann Morrow, she wrote the Florida Wildlife Viewing Guide (Falcon Press). Her essays and poems have appeared in Orion, Earthlight, Hope, Defenders, Florida Wildlife and Snake Nation Review. She is anthologized in Elemental South; The Woods Stretched for Miles; The Wild Heart of Florida: Writers on Florida's Wildlands and Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women and Animals.

As an activist, much of Cerulean's work brings attention to natural Florida, to local community-building and to slowing the rate of global warming. She is a founding board member of Heart of the Earth. She helped design Florida's Nongame Wildlife and Watchable Wildlife programs, and continues to work part-time as an interpretive writer for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Cerulean teaches nature writing at New College in Sarasota and many other venues. She and her husband, oceanographer Jeff Chanton, live in Tallahassee Florida with their 16-year-old sons, David and Patrick.

The author travels widely giving readings and lectures, speaking out on behalf of the diversity of life, especially the beleaguered Florida landscape and its wildlife, and on how we might reclaim a truly sustainable relationship with our only Earth.

Critical Description of Work:
I've been studying what I believe is a core question of our times for many years: "Why is it so hard for us to protect the wild places and wild creatures that we love?" I've approached this complex problem in many ways, but most compellingly through my investigations of swallow-tailed kites (hence my new book, Tracking Desire: A Journey after Swallow-tailed Kites!)

My journeys after kites have led me to understand that the power of our longings is placing the integrity of life on our tender emerald planet so greatly at risk. We stand at the end of the Cenozoic Era, the great flowering age of plant and animal diversity. I wonder about the fault lines in our own culture. What are the fractured places in our hearts and minds and spirits that have allowed us to stand by and watch, and even to participate in, the destruction of so much life?

The good news is that many, many fine minds and hearts are attending to these critical questions, this critical time. And we must never underestimate the creative powers and support of Spirit, and our beautiful earth.