Writer/naturalist Elizabeth Bradfield is the author of Toward Antarctica, Once Removed, Approaching Ice, Interpretive Work, and Theorem, a collaboration with artist Antonia Contro. Her poems and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, West Branch, Poetry, The Atlantic Monthly, Orion and elsewhere. For the past twenty-some years, she has worked as a naturalist and guide on ships both at home and in some of the globe’s most remote places. 

Winner of the Audre Lorde Prize from the Publishing Triangle, finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, her awards also include a Stegner Fellowship, a Bread Loaf Scholarship, and a residency at the Vermont Studio Center. 

Bradfield grew up in Tacoma, Washington, graduated from the University of Washington, and received her MFA from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. Founder and editor-in-chief of Broadsided Press and a contributing editor at the Alaska Quarterly Review, she lives on Cape Cod with her partner and is Associate Professor and co-director of creative writing at Brandeis University. 


As an Editor: Broadsided Press

In 2005, Bradfield founded Broadsided Press (, an innovative grassroots-distributed digital broadside publishing project. Broadsided's mission is to help people put literature and art into public spaces in their communities. 

A contributing editor to Alaska Quarterly Review, she is happy to help words move into the world and is currently plotting an anthology with a co-editor (details are secret for now).

As a Naturalist

Since the 1990s, Liz has worked as a naturalist and marine educator.  It all started with a love of boats and a long stint as a deckhand on small ecotour ships along the Pacific Coast, from Alaska to Baja (or did it start in her Puget Sound childhood?).  These days, she leads local naturalist workshops and whale watches from Cape Cod's outer reaches, spends a month or two each year at sea as a naturalist/guide in remote locations (most often in the high latitudes), and helps with marine mammal field work at home on a few projects.

Early Days/ Sense of Place

Liz grew up in Tacoma, Washington with a water-focused family that spent a lot of time in the Salish Sea.  She began her college education at the University of Oregon, and then graduated from the University of Washington with degrees in English and Women's Studies (she wanted to double with zoology... but that's another story).  

After her deckhand gig (see above), Liz worked for a .com startup in Port Townsend, then moved east to Provincetown, Massachusetts--a place she'd never dreamed of but fell hard for once she washed ashore.  She boomeranged west for five years to Alaska, living in Anchorage and earning her MFA in a place that keeps luring her back.  She makes her home now on Cape Cod in the wilds of Truro.

All of these places deeply inform Liz's sense of the world. She'd like to claim them all (plus a few others) as critical to her home-sense.