Hannah Nordhaus is author of the national bestseller, The Beekeeper’s Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America, published by HarperCollins in May 2011. The book is a non-fiction portrait of an unusual fourth-generation beekeeper who travels the West with 10,000 beehives, making honey, pollinating crops, and struggling to keep his bees alive in the middle of a strange and sobering honey bee die-off.
The Beekeeper’s Lament received critical acclaim from The Boston Globe, Washington Post, Wall St. Journal, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Mother Jones, Audubon, Boingboing.net and dozens of newspapers, magazines, and websites. The Associated Press deemed the book “a fascinating read from cover to cover.” Said the Boston Globe: “The Beekeeper’s Lament is at once science lesson, sociological study, and breezy read…. A book about bees could easily descend into academe, but the author settles for nothing less than literature.” The book, Hannah’s first, was a PEN Center USA Book Awards finalist, a Colorado Book Awards finalist, a National Federation of Press Women Book Award winner, and also appeared on a number of year-end “best of” lists.
Hannah’s writing has appeared in the Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, Outside Magazine, Times Literary Supplement (TLS), Ski Magazine, High Country News, The Village Voice, and many other publications. Her articles have covered litigious prostitutes in Montana; snorkeling salmon-counters in Idaho; the underground history of a dismantled nuclear weapons facility near Denver; wildlife crime investigators in Oregon; a personal history of New Mexico’s San Juan Basin natural gas fields; and profiles of dildo-art thieves and dog-doo GPS-mappers in Boulder, Colorado. From 2007 to 2009, she was also outdoors columnist for the Denver Rocky Mountain News.
In 2008, “The Silence of the Bees,” the High Country News article on which her book was based, won a special citation from the Stanford University John S. and James L. Knight Fellowship’s James V. Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism. Said the judges, “The ease with which this piece puts pen to paper—and leaves lasting images in the reader’s mind—belies the enormous amount of work that went into her exceptional reporting.” Hannah has also received Associated Press and California Newspaper Publishing Association awards for feature writing and business reporting. In 2011, the literary magazine The Millions featured this interview with Hannah about the art and craft of writing book-length narrative nonfiction, calling it a “veritable how-to for writing a book of journalistic non-fiction.”
A historian by training, she has conducted extensive oral histories with employees of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington D.C., with Cold-War era citizens of Roswell, New Mexico, and with federal judges and nuclear-plant workers in Colorado.
She lives in Boulder with two children, one husband, and zero beehives, and is currently at work on a new book, to be published by HarperCollins in 2015, which has nothing to do with bees.