BPL Presents and Writers Rebel NYC invite you to join a community of readers and writers across the nation in the Climate Reads series—a year-long reading and discussion of books shedding light on the climate crisis and environmental justice, to help guide and inspire us to take necessary action.
The kickoff book for September is Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower. When global climate change and economic crises lead to social chaos in the early 2020s, California becomes full of dangers, from pervasive water shortage to masses of vagabonds who will do anything to live to see another day. Fifteen-year-old Lauren Olamina lives inside a gated community with her preacher father, family, and neighbors, sheltered from the surrounding anarchy. In a society where any vulnerability is a risk, she suffers from hyperempathy, a debilitating sensitivity to others' emotions.
Precocious and clear-eyed, Lauren must make her voice heard in order to protect her loved ones from the imminent disasters her small community stubbornly ignores. But what begins as a fight for survival soon leads to something much more: the birth of a new faith . . . and a startling vision of human destiny.
Read the book and then come and join the discussion on Zoom. The conversation will be moderated by Lisa Lucas. Lisa is the incoming Senior Vice President & Publisher of Pantheon and Schocken Books at Penguin Random House, and the current Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, she served as the Publisher of Guernica, a non-profit online magazine focusing on writing that explores the intersection of art and politics with an international and diverse focus. Prior to that, she served as Director of Education at the Tribeca Film Institute, on the development team at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and as a consultant for the Sundance Institute, San Francisco Film Society, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and ReelWorks Teen Filmmaking. Lucas also serves on the literary council of the Brooklyn Book Festival. Find her on Twitter at @likaluca.
Lisa will be joined on the Zoom by Emily Raboteau and Mary Annaïse Heglar. Mary Annaïse Heglar is a climate justice writer. Co-creator and co-host of the Hot Take podcast and newsletter. Southern girl and NYC woman. James Baldwin is Mary's personal hero.
American Book Award winning writer Emily Raboteau is a professor of creative writing at CUNY and a longform essayist, most recently on the subjects of climate change and social justice. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, and elsewhere. She is a member of Writers Rebel, a group of writers deeply concerned about the climate crisis.
Please register for this free Zoom event. Registered audience members will receive a Zoom link prior to the event. Parable of the Sower can be ordered from our partner Greenlight Books here, for shipping to your home or in-store pickup.
Lisa Lucas photo credit Beowulf Sheehan/Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group via AP
Climate Reads: Parable of the Sower 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.