How might nature writing adapt to reflect, communicate and respond to the huge environmental changes currently unfolding?
Could a form of ‘speculative nature writing’ help to make possible futures visible?
This project aims to put new forms of nature writing to work as a way of encouraging discussion and debate about what lies ahead. We run talks, events, workshops and more on the subject of speculative nature writing.
To embrace speculative nonfiction is to wager that making room for the long view might help shift public policy and private behavior.
It is to wager that, as we degrade the equable conditions that have sustained humanity and Earth’s life systems, we can marshal scientifically responsible, emotionally arresting stories to help bend the curve of probability.
And that maybe, just maybe, we may thereby help avert the most ravaging outcomes, in this one and only world, this world that will have been.
Rob Nixon, All Tomorrow’s Warnings (2020)
The kind of forward-looking writing evoked above practises the semi-imaginative work that we might need to meet the challenges of this critical decade.
This project proposes that speculative writing can intervene in current ways of thinking and feeling about nature, and current ways of thinking and feeling about our shared future.
Speculative Nature Writing: Feeling for the Future wants to bring these possible futures alive in unnerving, ambiguous, and provocative ways to address the difficult questions they raise about value, meaning, identity and sustainability.
People and project partners
Dr Jos SmithA lecturer in contemporary literature with a particular interest in the environmental humanities.
Dr Hetty SaundersSenior Research Associate, School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing.
Dr John FanshaweCambridge Conservation Initiative and BirdLife.
BirdLife InternationalProject Partner.