By Deb A.
Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing humanity. As we teeter on the edge of disaster, actions should be speaking louder than words. But the sad truth is that the overwhelming evidence for climate change has not moved us beyond discussion and, shockingly, debate; even the most dire numbers apparently are not enough to make us feel the urgency. Fortunately, some talented artists are using their craft to inspire us to take action.
Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner is a poet from the Marshall Islands who is sounding the alarm about the devastating effects that global warming is already having on her native land. She has addressed the UN and is the cofounder of Jo-Jikum, an environmental NGO.
"Climate change at work": For his Climate Signals installation (September 1–November 6), artist Justin Brice Guariglia—who has flown on earth science missions with NASA—has erected 10 solar-powered highway signs around New York City. Their flashing messages are geared toward provoking conversation and encouraging action on climate change.
Artist Mary Mattingly has a long history of creating sculptural ecosystems that highlight environmental issues. In 2009 she created the barge-mounted Waterpod to highlight rising sea levels. Artists lived, worked, and held events on the self-contained eco-habitat. Her most recent piece, Swale, is a floating food forest.
Olafur Eliasson, conceptual artist and creator of Little Sun, worked with geologist Minik Rosing to create Ice Watch in 2015. The project harvested 80 tonnes of ice from Greenland and deposited them to melt in Paris during the United Nations Climate Conference there.
Eve Mosher worked with experts and the local communities of five cities in the United Kingdom and the United States for HighWaterLine, a public art initiative that drew a blue chalk line around sites that are likely to flood due to climate change.
Dear Climate is an art project led by artists Marina Zurkow and Oliver Kellhammer and writer Una Chaudhuri. Along with exhibitions and events, Dear Climate offers audio meditations to "retool your inner climate" and posters to print out and mount wherever you see fit.
Collections and resources
In 2015, Carol Anne Duffy curated 20 original poems on climate change for The Guardian. Actors including Jeremy Irons, Ruth Wilson, and Michael Sheen read the poems aloud for maximum impact.
For its T Agitprop series, The New York Times collected works from a dozen contemporary artists on the theme of climate change.
The Poetry Foundation has pulled together a collection of environmental poetry from the past seven decades, "from early practitioners ... to ecopoets."
Artists and Climate Change (and its own list of resources) is a must-read for anyone interested in the intersection of art and ecology.
By Deb A.
Fall is here, and with it come fond memories of elementary school book fairs. Fortunately adults can have their fun too: No matter what continent you're on, there's a book fair for you this year.
South African Book Fair
September 7–9; Johannesburg, South Africa
The SABF takes place at the end of South African's National Book Week and will feature a storytelling festival, poetry and philosophy cafés, and even a magic tent alongside over 40 exhibitors.
Brooklyn Book Festival
September 10–17; New York City, U.S.A.
New York City's largest literary celebration will include over 50 events highlighting the city's literary diversity.
Indonesia International Book Fair
September 12–16; Jakarta, Indonesia
"It's a book affair" is the tag line of this event, which was established in 1980.
The 39th International Manila Book Fair
September 12–16; Manila, Philippines
Visitors can check out over 100 exhibitors, including an entire floor of children and young adult titles.
NY Art Book Fair
September 20–23; New York, U.S.A.
Printed Matter's 13th edition of the NY Art Book Fair is a free event with 365 exhibitors and a range of programme highlights.
21st Nairobi International Book Fair
September 26–30; Nairobi, Kenya
The theme for this year's event is "Books for Nurturing Skills."
Göteborg Book Fair
September 27–30; Gothenburg, Sweden
The Göteborg Book Fair bills itself not only as "the most important event in Scandinavia for people in the book business," but also "an arena for debate."
Baltimore Book Festival
September 28–30; Baltimore, U.S.A.
Hundreds of authors will converge in Baltimore for three days to take part in nonstop readings on multiple stages, panel discussions, and workshops.
Oak Knoll Fest XX
October 5–7; New Castle, U.S.A.
Over 40 printers are due to exhibit at this fine press book fair, whose theme for 2018 is "Bringing it on Home."
October 10–14; Frankfurt, Germany
Perhaps the world's best known book fair, this year the Frankfurter Buchmesse celebrates its 70th anniversary.
Vancouver Art Book Fair
18–21 October; Vancouver, Canada
Canada's very first international art book fair is a festival of artists' publishing that will include over 100 local, national, and international publishers this year.
Miami Book Fair
11–18 November; Miami, U.S.A.
The Miami Book Fair includes a week of readings and discussions with over 450 authors, a street fair, and a partnership with The Children's Trust that delivers around 3,500 free books to children every week.
By Deb A.
It's summer—time to curl your toes in the sand or unfurl the picnic blanket and while away an afternoon with a good book and some sunshine. This year, we've compiled some hot tips from a former U.S. President, a business leader and philanthropist, and the Queen of All Media for you to find in your local independent bookshop.
This is the only one of Obama's suggestions that is not a celebration of African culture. But he says this this memoir by his former speechwriter and aide is "one of the smartest reflections I’ve seen as to how we approached foreign policy, and one of the most compelling stories I’ve seen about what it’s actually like to serve the American people for eight years in the White House."
By Deb A.
Summer is festival time. Here's a sample of just some of the events for bookworms, art lovers, and photography fans taking place this season.
Athens Photo Festival 2018
6 June –29 July; Athens, Greece
The main exhibition at the Benaki Museum was curated from over 100 entries; there is also a Young Greek Photographers exhibit.
21 June–1 July; Lodz, Poland
One of Poland's first major photography events in 2001, this year's festival looks at the Anthropocene epoch with over 30 exhibitions.
23 June–1 July; Leipzig, Germany
This year the biennial festival for photography will examine how photography can be used for democracy and mediation.
National Arts Festival
28 June–8 July; Grahamstown, South Africa
Visitors get free entry to exhibitions by "hundreds of visual artists working in almost every conceivable medium," including I am because you are: A search for Ubuntu with permission to dream and Sister Sister, an all-female exhibition.
29 June–1 July; London, England
Somali-British poet Warsan Shire will headline the U.K.'s biggest annual African literary festival, which features book launches, workshops, masterclasses, panels, and roundtables with authors from a dozen countries.
Read by the Sea
2–7 July; River John, Canada
A festival that brings some of Canada's best authors and poets to a small town in Nova Scotia; WordPlay, a children's event, will include Paulette Bourgeois (Franklin the Turtle).
2 July–23 September; Arles, France
"Cross space and time with a breathtaking, celestial journey across the ages"—who could resist an invitation like that?
Antiparos International Photo Festival
7–16 July; Antiparos, Greece
With a maximum of just 15 photographers, this mostly open-air event may be the smallest international photography festival in the world.
Upfest—The Urban Paint Festival
28–30 July; Bristol, England
Europe's largest, free street art and graffiti festival, with artists from around the world painting 60,000 square feet of surfaces. Also includes an affordable art sale.
Edinburgh Fringe Festival
3–27 August; Edinburgh, Scotland
It bills itself as "the world's greatest platform for creative freedom," as well as "the single biggest celebration of arts and culture on the planet," neither of which is an empty boast. Featuring spoken word performances, art exhibits, plays, dance, cabaret, and more, it is perhaps best-known for comedy.
Kilkenny Arts Festival
9–19 August; Kilkenny, Ireland
Enjoy the music, theatre, dance, and art, but don't let it distract you from attending a poetry workshop with poet-in-residence Eavan Boland.
17–19 August; Kampala, Uganda
In its sixth year, Uganda's leading literary festival will be looking to build on its foundations and set the tone for the next five years.
Queensland Poetry Festival
36–26 August; Queensland, Australia
Poet-in-residence Yona Harvey will offer workshops, talks, and more; the winner of the Emerging Older Poets Mentorship will read, and a poet will be selected to represent Queensland in the Australia Poetry Slam.
By Deb A.
The extraordinary Hay Festival in Wales draws to a close today, and we were thrilled to find a list of books that give some of the festival speakers hope. Combine that with Steven Pinker's suggestions for reading material to make or keep you optimistic, and you have the start of a promising summer reading list.
One of the things that gives us hope is hearing women's voices, so here we offer, in no particular order, a selection of the books that make authors feel good. What books give you hope? Add your favourites in the comment section below.
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