• AUGUST 17-20, 2023


Climate Fiction: How, What, Where, When, Why

This session will explore the creative conundrum of climate change, one of the most pressing issues facing our world—and one of the most difficult and challenging to imagine in fiction. The session will introduce a range of approaches to climate change in a diverse array of contemporary novels, featuring works by Lydia Millett, Sequoia Nagamatsu, Omar El Akkad, and Kim Stanley Robertson, among others. We will look at how writers have tackled specific climatic phenomena—catastrophe, ecological transformation, rising waters—at the levels of the page, the chapter, the narrative arc. The session will also cover some of the controversies over writing about climate, including the designation of "climate fiction" as a self-contained genre. The session will conclude with an exercise designed to provoke participants' reflection on climate change and the writerly imagination.

Session goals

• Understand the diversity of novels that have engaged the problem of climate change

• Learn how writers have tackled climate change on the page, in the chapter, in character

• Study how writers incorporate scientific and climatological research into fiction

• Use several primary sources to imagine the crafting of a scene

Difficulty level: intermediate


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