Cynthia Barnett biography

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Cynthia Barnett
Photo: Jennifer Adler

Cynthia Barnett

Cynthia Barnett Biography

Cynthia Barnett is an award-winning environmental journalist who has reported on water and climate change around the world. Her new book, The Sound of the Sea: Seashells and the Fate of the Oceans, was released in July 2021 from W.W. Norton.

Ms. Barnett is also the author of Rain: A Natural and Cultural History, longlisted for the National Book Award and a finalist for the 2016 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award, and Blue Revolution: Unmaking America's Water Crisis, which articulates a water ethic for America. Blue Revolution was named by the Boston Globe as one of the top 10 science books of 2011. The Globe describes Ms. Barnett's author persona as "part journalist, part mom, part historian, and part optimist." The Los Angeles Times writes that she "takes us back to the origins of our water in much the same way, with much the same vividness and compassion as Michael Pollan led us from our kitchens to potato fields and feed lots of modern agribusiness."

Her first book, Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S., won the gold medal for best nonfiction in the Florida Book Awards and was named by the St. Petersburg Times as one of the top 10 books that every Floridian should read. "In the days before the Internet," the Times said in a review, "books like Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and Marjory Stoneman Douglas' River of Grass were groundbreaking calls to action that made citizens and politicians take notice. Mirage is such a book." Ms. Barnett has written for National Geographic magazine, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Discover magazine, Salon, Politico, Orion, Ensia and many other publications. Her numerous journalism awards include a national Sigma Delta Chi prize for investigative magazine reporting and eight Green Eyeshades, which recognize outstanding journalism in 11 southeastern states.

She earned her bachelor's degree in journalism and master's in American history with a specialization in environmental history, and was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan, where she spent a year studying water science and history.

Ms. Barnett teaches environmental journalism at the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications in Gainesville, where she lives with her husband and teenagers.

Cynthia Barnett's website

This bio was last updated on 06/18/2021. In a perfect world, we would like to keep all of BookBrowse's biographies up to date, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's simply impossible to do. So, if the date of this bio is not recent, you may wish to do an internet search for a more current source, such as the author's website or social media presence. If you are the author or publisher and would like us to update this biography, send the complete text and we will replace the old with the new.

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Interview

Cynthia Barnett discusses Rain in which she explores the natural and cultural history of precipitation.

Q. What compelled you to write an entire book on rain?

A. Part of the answer is that I'm crazy about rain. I am a native of Florida and have always loved its sun showers and dramatic rain storms. Over my years as a journalist specializing in water, I came to appreciate rain as life's elixir: Marveling at its work to fill aquifers and rivers, its cycle from sea to atmosphere.

The idea for Rain was sparked by readers of my previous books, Blue Revolution and Mirage. As I went around the country speaking about water, I found that people love to talk about the weather, especially anything to do with rain: Record rainfall. Epic drought. Extreme storms. One drizzly Friday afternoon it hit me that I should write the story of rain. I felt sure someone would have already done it, but no one had. Once I started reporting on the cultural history and the science behind it, I found so many terrific mysteries that I became obsessed.

Q. What's your favorite rain "mystery"?

A. I find it fascinating that rain remains so tricky to predict in this age of precipitation-measuring satellites, Doppler radar, and twenty-four-hour weather streamed to our smart phones. Supercomputers do an amazing job forecasting temperatures ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Cynthia Barnett at BookBrowse
The Sound of the Sea jacket Rain jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Cynthia Barnett but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Nicholas A. Basbanes

    Nicholas A. Basbanes

    Nicholas A. Basbanes is an award-winning investigative journalist and was literary editor of the Worcester Sunday Telegram. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Rain

    Try:
    On Paper
    by Nicholas A. Basbanes

  • Simon Garfield

    Simon Garfield

    Simon Garfield is the author or editor of 17 works of nonfiction, united in content solely by the love of a compelling story. His diverse and unpredictable subject matter ranges from the austere post-war Britain of Our ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Rain

    Try:
    Timekeepers
    by Simon Garfield

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