Co-presented and -curated by Writers Rebel NYC, the January Climate Reads selection is Olga Tokarczuk’s novel Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, hosted by Alexandra Kleeman, with panelists to include novelist Jeff VanderMeer and the Center for Biological Diversity's Kieran Suckling.
In a remote Polish village, Janina devotes the dark winter days to studying astrology, translating the poetry of William Blake, and taking care of the summer homes of wealthy Warsaw residents. Her reputation as a crank and a recluse is amplified by her not-so-secret preference for the company of animals over humans. Then a neighbor, Big Foot, turns up dead. Soon other bodies are discovered, in increasingly strange circumstances. As suspicions mount, Janina inserts herself into the investigation, certain that she knows whodunit. If only anyone would pay her mind . . .
A deeply satisfying thriller cum fairy tale, Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead is a provocative exploration of the murky borderland between sanity and madness, justice and tradition, autonomy and fate. Whom do we deem sane? it asks. Who is worthy of a voice?
Alexandra Kleeman is the author of Intimations, a short story collection, and the novel You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine, which was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, and n+1. She is the winner of the Berlin Prize, the Bard Fiction Prize, and is a Rome Prize Fellow in Literature at the American Academy in Rome. She lives in Staten Island and teaches at the New School. Her second novel, Something New Under the Sun, will be published in August 2021 from Hogarth Press.
Kierán Suckling is the Executive Director and a founder of the Center for Biological Diversity, anational endangered species protection group which The New Yorker dubbed "the most important radical environmental group in the country."He studied computer science and mathematics at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Columbia University and Stanford University. He holds degrees in philosophy from the State University of New York at Stonybrook (a master's) and College of the Holy Cross (a bachelor's) focussing on poetics, phenomenology, deconstruction, philosophy of language and environmental ethics. In addition to overseeing the Center's conservation work, he writes and lectures on the mass extinction crisis, the intertwining of cultural and biological diversity, wilderness, anthropocentrism and the Anthropcene. The LA Weekly said of him: "Rimbaud reinvented poetry. Kierán Suckling would do the same with environmentalism."
Jeff VanderMeer has been called “the weird Thoreau” by The New Yorker and often speaks on environmental issues. His novels include the Southern Reach trilogy, Borne, Dead Astronauts, and the forthcoming eco-thriller Hummingbird Salamander. Nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, LA Times, and the Atlantic website. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida, where he is currently engaged in a multi-year rewilding of his yard.
Read the book and then come and join the discussion on Zoom. Please register for this free Zoom event. Registered audience members will receive a Zoom link prior to the event.
Climate Reads is made possible in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.