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Thu, 31 Aug


Online Workshop

Summer of Sustainability - Cli-Fi Workshops

Join Creative Writing programme leader Barbara Henderson for two online sessions on climate fiction ('cli-fi') and writing in all forms about the environment.

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Summer of Sustainability - Cli-Fi Workshops
Summer of Sustainability - Cli-Fi Workshops

Time & Location

31 Aug 2023, 11:00 – 13:00

Online Workshop


About the Event

Join Creative Writing programme leader Barbara Henderson for two online sessions on climate fiction ('cli-fi') and writing in all forms about the environment.

You may have heard the term climate fiction. If not, climate fiction, or cli-fi, is a burgeoning fiction genre which considers the effects of climate change on society and the future of the earth. But we can see those themes emerging more and more in any form of writing, whether it's poetry, screenwriting or nonfiction. We see it in the work of fictions writers as diverse as Cormac McCarthy, Octavia Butler, NK Jemisin, Margaret Atwood, Michael Crichton. We see it in the poetry of Fatimah Asghar, David Baker, and Craig Santos Perez.  We see it in the screenplays of Adam McKay (Don't Look Up), Hayao Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke) and many documentaries.

It’s all too easy to feel powerless in the face of the headlines about forest fires, air pollution, melting ice caps, declining species. We may make our drop-in-the-warming-ocean efforts with recycling or public transport or buying local - or we may sit on a motorway until a police officer takes us away in handcuffs. Whatever we do as one person, it all can sometimes feel a little… small-scale.

But as writers, we can make more of a difference than you might imagine. Because individual writers, and artists of any kind, can do something major. We can change the way people think. The arts make us empathic to the plight of others and they can make us change what we do, every day.

As writers, we hold up a mirror to our world. We do this whichever form we write in - poetry, script, prose. So we simply can't ignore the threat to our world that comes from the known climate emergency.

How can we bring this issue into our writing, without turning readers away? In the first of these two online sessions, we'll look at some of the exemplars from fiction, nonfiction, poetry and screen - and have a go at some exercises to see how we can write with impact, without turning our writing into a sermon or polemic. Maybe the dystopian novel is not always the answer, for instance - because although the best writing takes us out of our everyday lives, if readers feel they're reading a kind of fantasy, then the underlying message may not hit its target.

In the second session, bring some of your work along for some peer and tutor review - and let's see if we can create enough original work to produce a paperless anthology - a document from our times for readers now and - let's hope - the future.

Open to all students across disciplines but numbers are limited to 15 so please sign up quickly.

Image Photo by Eda Topsakal: 

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