TippingPoint Newcastle, 22-24 February
Since 2007 - it's taken that long! - I have been working alongside Mike Robinson, chairman of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, to commission and publish a collection of short stories in aid of Stop Climate Chaos. The goal has been to challenge UK authors to find new ways of writing about the climate crisis: something so overwhelming in its implications that, with a few exceptions, it has so far been the preserve of genre fiction.
After struggles too numerous to mention, we found an excellent publisher willing to produce the book and funding from an unlikely source to meet the costs of a briefing weekend in Perthshire. Nearly a year on, the typescript for Out of Chaos - stories for our shared planet, is sitting on the desk beside me, almost ready to submit to the proof reader. The book boasts twenty-one original stories by a fantastic selection of authors, including Joanne Harris, Liz Jensen, Alasdair Gray, A.L. Kennedy, Toby Litt, Janice Galloway, Adam Thorpe, David Constantine, Maris McCann and Tom Bullough.
I will, in the coming months, post frequently about the project. For now, folk in Tyne and Wear may be interested to know that I and two of the book's contributors will be talking about literature and climate change at TippingPoint Newcastle on Wednesday 22nd February. This is part of a conference organised by Peter Gingold at Tipping Point to bring together arts practitioners engaged in the communication of ecology and sustainability. The event in the evening is open to the general public. I will be hosting a discussion with Jay Griffiths, whose book Wild may be one of the great non-fiction works of the century so far, and the ingenious Lawrence Norfolk. Follow the hyperlinks for more information. I very much hope to see you there.