Writer and environmental historian Jessica J. Lee believes nature writing has a diversity problem. Having lived all over the world and sat on numerous panels at book festivals, the British-Canadian-Taiwanese author of Two Trees Make a Forest: On Memory, Migration and Taiwan (Hamish Hamilton, 2020), decided in 2018 to found The Willowherb Review, a digital literary magazine devoted to nature writing by people of color.
“We’re interested in amplification of voices rather than bemoaning the state of diversity in nature writing,” she says of herself and her two-person staff. “There’s such a strong history of nature writing being a certain way, and that trope gets reproduced over and over,” she adds. “What I’ve really enjoyed so far is the huge range of submissions from all over the world – not just limited to people steeped in traditional American nature writing. It’s a great way to disrupt our expectations of what the genre can be.”