Writing about climate, crisis and change

Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Writers Victoria

Photo of a thermometre
cc image by Pixabay

The mercury is rising at Writers Victoria.  

Summer School kicks off this week with a series of workshops and seminars on writing about one of the most burning issues of our time: climate change and its impact on the environment. 

The subject dominates the headlines and bookshelves alike. Stories often grow from place, but what happens when the places you are writing about are degraded, decayed or destroyed? In fiction and non-fiction, the issue won’t abate and sub genres like cli fi are increasingly popular.

So our Season 1 program includes a special focus on environmental issues in line with 2017’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism Development.

Writers Anna Krien, Tony Birch and Alice Robinson each tackle issues of climate change head on, but in diverse and creative ways.

“The lens through which we view the world impacts on the stories we tell,” says Krien, the award-winning author of ‘Into the Woods: The Battle for Tasmania's Forests’. “As American journalist David Roberts' has written 'Climate change is not a 'story' but a background condition for all future stories’.”

In her one-day workshop on Environmental Non-Fiction, Krien will look at environmental journalism from the success of its pioneers to the difficulties contemporary journalists face today.

You can read more about our conversation with Anna on why climate change journalism needs to evolve on this website. Or book now to learn the essentials of literary non-fiction, how to identify a compelling and original angle, how to approach research and interviews.

In Writing the End of the World, Alice Robinson will share her tips on how to begin a ‘cli-fi’ novel, whilst learning to create fiction with apocalyptic and dystopian elements.

“Not all readers enjoy apocalypse – tragedy isn’t for everyone – but for me, the bleaker the better when it comes to literature,” Robinson said in an interview with Writers Victoria. “Novels feel like an appropriate place to express and engage in my worst fears about all manner of disappointment and despair, including the terrible futures I really hope won’t come to pass.”

At the end of the month, Tony Birch will return to Writers Vic for a Writers on Wednesday seminar on The Narratives of Climate Change. Join us to discover the variety of ways that writers are responding to the challenge of climate change across fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction.

And if you’re concerned about the impact of printing, you might want to look into your e-book options with our Summer School workshop on Digital Publishing with Euan Mitchell.

“Climate change is the hottest of hot topics,” said Writers Victoria Director, Kate Larsen. “But writers are changing people's minds. And in adding their voices to the climate change cry, they are changing the world as well.”

More eco-workshops will be added throughout the year.