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On America

On America: Environmental Storytelling with Brooklyn Book Festival

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Tuesday, 7:00 pm EDT September 27, 2022

The Center for Fiction
& Livestreamed

We continue our annual Brooklyn Book Festival Bookends tradition of inviting author and critic, Kerri Arsenault (Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains), to the stage to lead a panel discussion on the essential need and most effective ways to write about our environment. She is joined by Bathsheba Demuth (Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait), her co-founder of The Environmental Storytelling Studio, a writing course for scholars, postdocs, faculty, and graduate students in the environmental sciences, social sciences, and humanities who want to marry scholarship with literary storytelling to engage a broad audience for their work. Authors Leigh Newman (Nobody Gets Out Alive), Pitchaya Sudbanthad (Bangkok Wakes to Rain), and Morgan Talty (Night of the Living Rez) round out the panel.

Presented with Brooklyn Book Festival, Emergence Magazine, and The Environmental Storytelling Studio.


In Conversation

  • Arsenault_photo by Erik Madigan Heck

    Kerri Arsenault

    Kerri Arsenault

    Kerri Arsenault is co-founder of The Environmental Storytelling Studio at Brown University, contributing editor at Orion magazine, a book critic who has served on the National Book Critics Circle board, and author of the bestselling book, Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains, an investigative memoir about family and environmental legacies. Mill Town won the Rachel Carson Environment Book Award from the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Maine Literary Award for nonfiction, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Leonard Prize for best first book in any genre. Mill Town was also a New York Times Editors’ Choice, and top book pick for the Chicago Tribune, Literary Hub, Kirkus Reviews, Oprah magazine, People, Newsweek, and Publisher’s Weekly, among others. Her writing has appeared in the Boston Globe, Freeman’s, the New York Review of Books, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. For 2022–2023, she will be a fellow at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University, at the Science History Institute in Philadelphia, and at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich. She is working on two biography projects that orbit around her primary interest: the lives of ordinary people and their intersection with waste, pollutants, and toxicities.

    Photo Credit: Erik Madigan Heck

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    Bathsheba Demuth

    Bathsheba Demuth

    Bathsheba Demuth is an Associate Professor of History and Environment and Society at Brown University, where she teaches environmental history and writing and is a co-founder of Environmental Humanities at Brown. Her multiple-prize winning first book, Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait (W.W. Norton) was a New York Times editors pick, and named a best book of 2019 by Nature, NPR, Kirkus Reviews, and others. She writes regularly for non-academic outlets on environmental topics, including Granta, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, and has selections in The Best American Science and Nature Writing and The Best American Travel Writing. Demuth holds a BD and MA from Brown University, and an MA and PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a current Carnegie Fellow, working on an environmental history of the Yukon River from colonization to climate change.

  • Leigh Newman_by Nina Subin - Eliana Cohen-Orth

    Leigh Newman

    Leigh Newman

    Leigh Newman’s collection Nobody Gets Out Alive includes stories that have appeared in the Paris Review, Harper’s, The Best American Short Stories 2020, Tin House, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, and Electric Literature and that have been awarded both a Pushcart prize and an American Society of Magazine Editors’ fiction prize. Her memoir about growing up in Alaska, Still Points North, was a finalist for the National Book Critic Circle’s John Leonard prize and, in 2020, she received the Paris Review’s Terry Southern Prize for “humor, wit, and sprezzatura.”

    Photo Credit: Nina Subin

  • PitchayaSudbanthad - Credit Christine Suewon Lee

    Pitchaya Sudbanthad

    Pitchaya Sudbanthad

    Pitchaya Sudbanthad is the author of the novel Bangkok Wakes to Rain, selected as a notable book of the year by the New York Times and the Washington Post, as well as finalist for The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. He has received fellowships in fiction writing from the New York Foundation for the Arts and MacDowell, and currently splits time between Bangkok and Brooklyn.

    Photo Credit: Christine Suewon Lee

  • Morgan TaltyHiResAuthorPhoto_creditTinHouse - Claire Fennell

    Morgan Talty

    Morgan Talty

    Morgan Talty is a citizen of the Penobscot Indian Nation where he grew up. He received his B.A. in Native American Studies from Dartmouth College and his MFA in fiction from Stonecoast’s low-residency program. He is the author of the story collection Night of the Living Rez from Tin House Books (2022), and his work has appeared in Granta, the Georgia Review, Shenandoah, TriQuarterly, Narrative magazine, LitHub, and elsewhere. A winner of the 2021 Narrative Prize, Talty’s work has been supported by the Elizabeth George Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts (2022). Talty teaches courses in both English and Native American Studies, and he is on the faculty at the Stonecoast MFA in creative writing. Talty is also a Prose Editor at the Massachusetts Review. He lives in Levant, Maine.

    Photo Credit: Tin House

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