Saturday, February 28, 2015

Kim Stanley Robinson and Jason Mark and PRX radio host Greg Dalton discuss cli-fi novels and movies in one-hour discussion in San Francisco (audiocast here)

UPDATE: College classrooms go 'cli-fi' as academia wakes up to rising new literary genre

CLI FI LITERATURE CLASS at Columbia Univ May 27 begins
Yes, Kim Stanley Robinson and  Jason Mark and PRX radio host Greg Dalton discuss cli-fi novels and movies in one-hour discussion in San Francisco (audiocast here). The event, sponsored by Climate One in San Francisco, took place in Febuary. It's now uploaded as a "live," recorded audiocast from that event here.

FIND IT AT ''most recent piece in this series:"

The Windy Camp Literaray Awards

Tuesday morning, Beinecke Library staff sat Yale et up a small, modestly-lit stage and 40 chairs upstairs to prepare for the announcement of this year’s Windham-Campbell Literature Prize winners [aka ''The Windy Camp awards''].  The prizes award $150,000 to each of up to 9 writers — three in drama, three in nonfiction and three in fiction. Last year there were 8 winners.
Though this certainly makes for a noteworthy accolade, few people attended the ceremony. Almost all those who came worked at the Beinecke. University President Peter Salovey read a short speech: He named the winners, summarized their careers, thanked listeners and left. The whole thing took less than 20 minutes.
Despite the small reception in New Haven, the event attracted a much larger audience than could be contained in the Beinecke. Michael Kelleher, program director of the Windham-Campbell Prizes, opened proceedings by saying, “We’re being watched all over the world live right now.” Indeed, the announcement was live-streamed over the Internet.
The ambitions of the Windham-Campbell Prize certainly merit global attention. It aims to reward writers in the English language from all over the world for demonstrating achievement or promise in their respective genres. In an interview with the News, Kelleher said, “For the first time, more than half the winners knew what Windham-Campbell was.” At the awards ceremony, he joked that he was happy that no one thought the phone call notifying them that they’d won was an online scam.
But in all seriousness, the vast scope of the award has attracted international attention, and though it was created only 3 three years ago, the Windham-Campbell Prize has quickly acquired significant prestige.
The ambitions of the Windham-Campbell Prize certainly merit global attention.
The prize was created by Donald Windham who, upon his death in 2010, left the majority of his estate to Yale in order to fund the Windham-Campbell Prizes. [He never went to Yale and he never even went to college.] Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, the gay teenager Donald Windham [took a bus] to New York City soon after graduating high school to become a writer [and never looked back].
There, his career took off when he collaborated with Tennessee Williams on “You Touched Me!,” and he went on to become a critically acclaimed novelist.
Windham’s success never came easy. [The son of a wealthy Georgia family who left him an inheritance which he later parlayed through wise investments in a small fortune,] he never went to college, and as a young, financially struggling writer, he worked odd jobs in New York City. It is perhaps because of this difficulty that Windham wished to create a prize that would not only honor well-known authors with impressive bodies of work, but also — and perhaps more importantly — provide younger, less established writers with the financial opportunity to focus on their craft.
Eugene V. Kokot, co-executor of the Windham-Campbell estate, says he ensures that the selection committees choose winners that match Windham’s goals. “It was Donald’s intent to give someone the prize who would really benefit from money to aid [their] writing, without having to work a second job to make ends meet,” he said. In keeping with this mission, last year’s winners have expressed their gratitude for the prize, which has enabled them to stop looking for temp jobs and worrying about money, and to finally focus on establishing themselves among literati.
The newfound ease of the prizewinners is the result of a long and complicated process. Each year, Kelleher travels to a different part of the world to familiarize himself with the region’s literary circles. He then chooses 60 nominators — usually writers or academics — who will each choose one “established” writer and one “up-and-comer” to nominate for the prize. He cited the importance of having what he called a “saturation” of nominees from a particular part of the world, so that every year selectors can closely examine the literature of a given country, rather than annually comparing literature from all over the world.
Selection committees choose winners not based on a single masterpiece; instead, they look at the writers’ entire bodies of work. Judges on the committee then pick a book they think is indicative of the overall quality of an author’s work to send to a panel of jurists, who decide on the final winners. It’s a long process, and usually takes an entire year. In fact, Kelleher begins searching for new nominators the day after winners are announced.
This involved procedure yields promising results. “The proof that the selection process works is in the people who are selected,” said Richard Deming, an English professor at Yale who teaches the popular creative writing course Daily Themes. “By and large, they aren’t household names, but they have been very impressive.”
The names of the nominators are never made public, and nominees do not find out they’ve been nominated unless they win. The selection committees, also composed of anonymous members, work in seclusion throughout the process to determine the best nominees. Even after their term ends, previous judges cannot reveal their identities to the press.
“The process is anonymous because we wanted to avoid conflicts of interest,” Kokot said. “We want nominators to nominate purely on the basis of their review of authors who deserve a wider audience.”
This could explain the modest reception that accompanied the announcement of the winners; unlike prizes such as the Pulitzer Prize or the National Book Award, there is little fanfare surrounding the selections. While other literary prizes have celebrity judges and long processes involving publicized longlists, short lists and finalists, the Windham-Campbell doesn’t make a show of its procedure. As J.D. McClatchy, editor of “The Yale Review,” puts it: “The Windham-Campbell has prestige, like the Bollingen, more than glamour, like the Pulitzer.”
McClatchy is not the only person to compare Windham-Campbell to more established prizes. Though the Windham-Campbell program is still in its infancy, members of the literary community have high hopes for its future. The prize was profiled in a Foreign Policy article about prestigious global literary awards, along with the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Man Booker Award. Unlike these accolades, the Windham-Campbell does not allow almost-winners to benefit from being named finalists. However, Teju Cole, one of this year’s fiction winners, says he wouldn’t have wanted to know had he been a finalist. For him, the anonymity de-emphasizes the competitive nature of literary prizes. “Making art is not about rivalry,” he said.
Most commonly, interviewees compared Windham-Campbell either to the Macarthur Genius Award, as the decision processes are similar, or, perhaps more aptly, to Yale’s Bollingen Prize, which is essentially Windham-Campbell’s poetic counterpart.
The Bollingen Prize has awarded literary excellence ever since its inception in 1948, when Ezra Pound was the first winner. Also affiliated with the Beinecke, the Bollingen selects American poets who have published the best book of poetry in the two years preceding the prize’s announcement. It also takes into account lifetime achievement that the judges deem particularly impressive. Its goals, then, are somewhat different than those the Windham-Campbell — the Bollingen is not international, and is rarely given to a junior poet without a significant body of work.
Nancy Kuhl, curator of American Literature at the Beinecke and Program Director for the Bollingen Prize, thinks that, because of these different functions, the Bollingen and Windham-Campbell will mutually inform and enrich one another.
“The two prizes together highlight Yale’s deep investment in great literature,” she said. “This isn’t just a deep investment in research, but also in the creation of great works of art.”
The relationship between Yale and the prizes is, in a sense, symbiotic: The prize enhances Yale students’ experience of literature, and association with Yale lends the prize automatic prestige. Kuhl went on to explain how awards such as these impact students and aspiring writers who are considering entering the field: “When we give an award to a writer, we don’t know what’s going to arise from their imagination, or how that will spark the imaginations of others at a distance.”
The Windham-Campbell has already put significant effort into sparking young imaginations. Since its inception, the prize has maintained a partnership with Co-op Arts and Humanities High School in New Haven. Each year, six students concentrating in creative writing or theater coordinate a panel and workshop with one of the winners.
Lynda Blancato organizes the cooperation between the Beinecke and Co-op High School. “This program shows students that the prizewinners have very diverse paths to their careers as writers,” said Blancato. Even just meeting new people who aren’t from New Haven, she said, is exciting for students — so working with writers from all over the world was especially rewarding.
The high school’s affiliation with Windham-Campbell winners is, in a sense, indicative of the realization of Windham’s goals — for many writers, especially those from outside the U.S., local recognition in New Haven is the first step to recognition abroad. “I’m literally trying to bring these writers to the world,” Kelleher tells me. According to him, the Windham-Campbell Prize intends to bring acclaim to writers who deserve it and whose art should be appreciated by literary enthusiasts around the world.
That said, fame is not the ultimate goal of most writers. “I think making art is about having a voice — prizes are not the reason we do this work,” said Cole. (This was, of course, after saying that he was very happy to have received the Windham-Campbell this year.) “But any opportunity to develop that voice is very meaningful. Money is not the end in itself, but it allows the work to go on.”

''Cli-fi'' in the classroom: university classes on "cli-fi" proliferating worldwide

'Cli-Fi' in the Classroom .........(almost sounds like a refrain in a new pop song -- 'Cli-Fi' in the Classroom, 'Cli-Fi' in the Classroom, 'Cli-Fi' in the Classroom

I am hearing from more and more academics and professors who are TEACHING cli fi classes this year, last year and planning classes and courses on cli fi literature for 2016 and future years too. CLI-FI is really catching on in academia and in college classrooms! And this is good for cli fi novelists and short story writers and movie makers BECAUSE it means the meme is sprreading like wildfire and a new audience of students will be your r...eaders.

 JUST TODAY i received this email from a professor in western Massachusetts who with her colleagure is teaching a cli fi class this semester. ................................

SHE WRITES: ..................."NOTE: ''The final project of the class will
have students **write their own Cli-Fi short stories.***''

I found your name in a google search when I was trying to learn more about
the term ''cli-fi'' and when the genre was first identified, and I saw
the term in a Wikipedia article, and from there I
found your website and blog.

I and a colleague are teaching a college course in ''Cli-Fi'' at
our local Community College in western Massachuseets. Our college is very supportive
of interdisciplinary learning, allowing us to develop "Learning
Communities" combining two courses from two different disciplines.

course, titled "Cli Fi: Stories and Science from the Coming Climate
Apocalypse," combines Introduction to Literature and a lab science. We
meet with our students for 6 hours a week plus a 2 1/2 hour lab.

We are using the short story collection titled *I'm with the Bears*, edited
by Mark Martin. Our students will also be reading Paolo Bacigalupi's *Windup
Girl* and Elizabeth Kolbert's *The Sixth Extinction*. We plan to show the movie
*Avatar* and maybe *Snow Piercer*.

The final project of the class will
have students write their own Cli-Fi short stories.

We have had some great
class discussions so far.

When I saw your email address online in my Googling, I just thought I'd reach out and say hi and
thank you for identifying the genre that we have built
our course around. We will direct our students to your new website --

If you have any suggestions or resources to share with us, please do. By
the way, I went to Tufts University in Boston, too! I graduated in 1986.
Best regards,

With "cli-fi" classes now being taught at.....Unversity of Oregon (2014 and 2015), Temple University (2015) and over a dozen other colleges worldwide, from Australia to UK, and everywhere in between....COOL! ! .....i am compiling a list of those universities teaching cli fi classes now or planning to do so soon. So IF YOU HAVE spotted or heard of these new cli fi classes in your area of expertise OR if you are planning to teach one in the future, let me know here. I think things just got started with cli fi in the classroom in 2014, and the NY Times article by Richard Perez-Pene helped set the meme on fire. And i think i see a new TREND developing here and i intend to monitor it and archive it: SO SEND me any cli fi in the classroom sightings YOU HAVE SEEN or know about. One this thing gets started, there will be no stopping it in academic settings, and I can even foresee entire departments of literature and cinema devoted to cli fi in the future, with students getting their PHDs with theses written about the cli fi genre and meme. So this will last a long long time now, 100 years and more, and it just got started?

Send me your sightings!

And congrats to Stephanie LeMenager a pioneer in this genre in the classroom and PHD candidate Stephen Siperstein at UO and PHD candidate Ted Howell at Temple University and Elitzabeth and Steve in western Massachusetts and dozens of others doing this. IT HAS BEGUN!

''Cli-Fi'' News & Academic Links (mirror site)

Cli-Fi News & Academic Links:

Friday, February 27, 2015

Jason Steger in Australia on the rise of cli fi in Australian literature

JASON STEGER ''chicklit ladlit clitfic tartan noir''. ''Next cab off the rank would appear to be

Jason Steger in Australia on the rise of cli fi in Australian literature -   #clifi

Survivable IPCC projections are based on science fiction - the reality is much worse

Nick Breeze writes, and he says it well!
27th February 2015

The IPCC's 'Representative Concentration Pathways' are based on fantasy technology that must draw massive volumes of CO2 out of the atmosphere late this century, writes Nick Breeze - an unjustified hope that conceals a very bleak future for Earth, and humanity.

It is quite clear that we have no carbon budget whatsoever. The account, far from being in surplus, is horrendously overdrawn. To claim we have a few decades of safely burning coal, oil and gas is an utter nonsense.
The IPPC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) published in their latest report, AR5, a set of 'Representative Concentration Pathways' (RCP's).
These RCP's (see graph, right) consist of four scenarios that project global temperature rises based on different quantities of greenhouse gas concentrations.
The scenarios are assumed to all be linked directly to emissions scenarios. The more carbon we emit then the hotter it gets. Currently humanity is on the worst case scenario of RCP 8.5 which takes us to 2°C warming by mid century and 4°C warming by the end of the century.
As Professor Schellnhuber, from Potsdam Institute for Climate Research (PIK) said, "the difference between two and four degrees is human civilisation."
In 2009 the International Union of Forest Research Organisations delivered a report to the UN that stated that the natural carbon sink of trees could be lost at a 2.5°C temperature increase.
The ranges for RCP 4.5 and RCP 6 both take us over 2.5°C and any idea that we can survive when the tree sink flips from being a carbon sink to a carbon source is delusional.
Where does this leave us?
Of the four shown RCP's only one keeps us within the range that climate scientists regard as survivable. This is RCP 2.6 that has a projected temperature range of 0.9°C and 2.3°C.
Considering we are currently at 0.85°C above the preindustrial level of greenhouse gas concentrations, we are already entering the range and as Professor Martin Rees says: "I honestly would bet, sad though it is, that the annual CO2 emissions are going to rise year by year for at least the next 20 years and that will build up accumulative levels close to 500 parts per million."

The recent US / China agreement supports Rees's contentions. But even if Rees is wrong and we do manage to curtail our carbon emissions, a closer look at RCP 2.6 shows something much more disturbing.
In his image (see graph, right), IPCC SMP Expert Reviewer David Tattershall has inserted vertical red lines to mark the decades between years 2000 and 2100. Within this 21st Century range he has also highlighted a steep decline in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (shown by the steep declining thick red line).
It is interesting that concerted action for emissions reductions is timed to occur just beyond the date for the implementation of a supposed legally binding international agreement.
Stopping emissions does not reduce atmospheric carbon. The emissions to date are colossal and the warming effect is delayed by around 40 years. Therefore, even if we halt emissions, we know there is much more warming to come. That will also set off other positive feedbacks along the way that will amplify the warming further, stretching over centuries.
So how does the IPCC achieve these vast reductions in greenhouse gases?
If we look at the vertical red lines, at around 2025 the steep decline in atmospheric greenhouse gases begins. Accumulated emissions not only are reduced to zero in 2070 but actually go negative.
This chart shows that carbon is removed from the atmosphere in quantities of hundreds of billions of tonnes, for as far ahead as 2300 to sustain a temperature beneath 2°C.
What makes this idea of projected large-scale Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) even more perverse is the talk by policymakers of a "carbon budget". This refers to the amount of fossil fuel that can be burned before we are at risk of reaching a 2°C rise in global mean temperature.
It is quite clear that we have no carbon budget whatsoever. The account, far from being in surplus, is horrendously overdrawn. To claim we have a few decades of safely burning coal, oil and gas is an utter nonsense.
Sequestering billions of tonnes of carbon for centuries
If all of the above has not raised any alarm bells then perhaps it is time to consider the proposed methods for sucking the billions of tonnes of carbon out of the atmosphere.
In February 2015 the National Research Council in the United States launched their two reports on "climate interventions". Dr Nutt concluded with this statement on CDR:
"Carbon Dioxide Removal strategies offer the potential to decrease carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere but they are limited right now by their slow response, by their inability to scale up and their high cost."
Dr Nutt's conclusion points to very important factor that we can elaborate on with a rare case of certainty. There is no proposed CDR technology that can be scaled up to suck billions of tonnes out of the Earth's atmosphere. It simply does not exist in the real world.
This is reiterated by Dr Hugh Hunt in the Department of Engineering, at the University of Cambridge, who points out:
"10 billion tonnes a year of carbon sequestration? We don't do anything on this planet on that scale. We don't manufacture food on that scale, we don't mine iron ore on that scale. We don't even produce coal, oil or gas on that scale. Iron ore is below a billion tonnes a year! How are we going to create a technology, from scratch, a highly complicated technology, to the tune of 10 billion tonnes a year in the next 10 years?"
Science fiction
It is not just that there are currently no ideas being researched to such a degree where they are likely to be able to bring down atmospheric carbon to a safe level of around 300 parts per million. It is also that the level of funding available to the scientists doing the research is woefully inadequate.
These RCP's are used by policymakers to decide what actions are required to sustain a safe climate for our own and future generations. The information they are using, presented by the IPCC, is nothing more than science fiction.
It makes for sober thinking when glossy images of President Obama and the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, are presented to the world shaking hands on global emissions reductions by 2030 that we know will commit us to catastrophe.

Nick Breeze is a film maker and writer on climate change and other environmental topics. He has been interviewing a range of experts relating to the field of climate change and science for over five years. These include interviews with Dr James Hansen, Professor Martin Rees, Professor James Lovelock, Dr Rowan Williams, Dr Natalia Shakhova, Dr Michael Mann, Dr Hugh Hunt, among others.
Additional articles can also be read on his blog Envisionation.

An Interview with UK-based Reporter Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura

Questions (and answers)  to follow, for now in invisible ink)......

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Jesus did not take a selfie

Jesus did not take a selfie
''A Sunday Sermon'' - part 8
When Jesus came down from the Cross, the New Testament teaches, "He did not know that his face was aglow (Ex. 34:29)" nor that it was time to take a so-called ''selfie.''
This anti-selfie prayer is one of the most inspiring verses in the New Testament, awaiting our age to reveal its full depth. Today the slightest sliver of charisma is noted, celebrated and selfied with a selfie. But Jesus would never have done such a thing.
We are all acutely conscious of our gifts, and encouraged not only to exercise them, but to trumpet their existence to the world. Sure. If our faces were glowing, it would be on Twitter before you could say ''Jesus Christ Our Father in Heaven. Amen. ''
Jesus is called by the New Testament as the most humble man who ever lived. His humility was not forced or false. He did not know his own glow because he was not the pre-eminent subject in his own mind. At the greatest moment imaginable in his short 33 years on Earth, rather than exulting in his encounter with God the Father, Jesus is literally unaware of the tears on his own face. He was not absent-minded, but rather very present-minded on things that mattered. Such as the Resurrection!
In our strutting and self-congratulatory age, Jesus stands as a man made Son of God who achieved the pinnacle of greatness and walked humbly with our God, our Father.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Academia is shining spotlight on newish 'Cli-Fi' genre with the lovely shorthand

Cli-fi is not just a short, easy-to-remember term for newspaper headlines and book review sections. It's also becoming a hot word among academics worldwide, and not just in the English language.
Professors and researchers are writing academic papers by the climate refugee boatland now about the rise of the cli fi genre, with one academic even calling it "the mushrooming genre of cli fi." Academic journals are now publishing papers on cli fi and calling for more papers in the future via CFP tweets and bulletins. CFP stands for ''Call For Papers.''

Among academic media preparing a major news story about cli fi is the Chronicle of Higher Education in Washington, .DC., where a very good and thorough piece of reporting on cli fi in academia is in the making.

Universities around the world are following the cli fi meme now, too, from Monash University in Australia to UCLA and Tufts in America and McGill in Canada and Oxford in the UK. Academics writing in Danish, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese and Hebrew are also purusing the meme in academic papers and journals.

Cli fi has jumped the shark. It's everywhere now.

The academic community that focuses on eco-criticism and
environmental literature -- with
the participation of top academics worldwide, film studies people,
literature experts-- from Jon Christensen at UCLA to
Stepheanie LeMenager at University of Oregon to Asher Minn and Rowland Hughes in the UK -- cli-fi has come to academia and there is astory here.
Last November, Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood delivered a keynote speech at Arizona State University, where professor Ed Finn coordinat the well-attended event.
In Australia, David Holmes, Kate
Rigby and Andrew Milner have been seriously looking into the cli-fi genre.

In May,
the Universtiy of Virgina Press in America will publish a major academic work titled "Anthropocne Fictions," by independent academic Adam Trexler, who uses the nonfiction book to study 150 cli-fi novels of the past 100 years.
In addition, a new website called "The Cli-Fi Report" serves as a link farm for academic articles around the world and is accessible at
The  ''Cli-Fi Report" for adademics and researchers around the world (

New literary awards seemingly came out of nowhere with record windfall

UPDATE: TELEREAD does a piece on this:
New  literary awards came out of nowhere -

[NOTE: Imagine if someday 'cli fi' novels find a specific literary awards program to be part of, too!]

Call them the ''Windy Camp'' literary awards as a nickname?

Imagine an American poet and memoirist who never went college but
befriended some of the great literary heroes of his generation and
then died at the age of 90 with no children as heirs of what was a
huge estate that was worth millions.

That would be Donald Windham, who died in 2010 -- some 20 years after
the death of his lifelong partner Sandy Campbell -- and asked his
lawyers to set up one of the richest literary awards program in the
world. Ensorcelled yet?

He chose Yale University to run the annual program and he left enough
money behind to fund the program for, well, for a long time to come.
But he never went to Yale, and never even went to college himself.
How's that for serendipity?

Think of the Windham Campell Prizes as a kind of MacArthur "genius"
grant for writers -- fiction writers, non-fiction writers and
playwrights -- who do not apply for the awards and get notified about
winning out of the blue as a complete surprise.

This year, the third year of the program (its that new, and that's
why you probably never heard of it before), the $150,000 prizes went
to nine writers from around the world. None of them applied, and none
of them knew the windfall was coming. Cool!

"The prizes were started by a very wealthy man who unexpectedly
donated his entire estate to Yale, which is not even his alma mater,"
a publishing industry source told this reporter in a recent email. "To
do something like this, well, it doesn't happen very often."

You can say that again. The Windham Campbell awards just might the
world's richest literary prizes doled out annually, unless of course
you factor in the Nobel Prize for Literature, which comes with a $1
million gift.

Windham, who was gay and lived a storied literary life in New York
with friends like Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote, took a hefty
family inheritance, invested it wisely over the years and decided that
when he died, since he had no children to leave anything to, he would
fund a literary prize and give the reins to Yale to administer it.
Co-named after him and his gay partner Campbell, the literary prizes
are for all comers, regardless of nationality, gender, sexuality or

It was quite a nice thing for a minor American writer to do, and as
the annual program gathers steam, it's sure to become the talk of the
town in literary circles.
Since the program is just three years old, it's still a low-profile
thing and not the kind of event to make headlines on the front pages
of the New York Times or the Washington Post.

But it's future is assured. And publicity will follow, for sure.

Michael Kelleher, who is the program director
at Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale, oversees the annual event.

Officially, the prizes are known as the Donald Windham-Sandy M.
Campbell Literature Prizes at Yale.

This year's nine winners come from several nations -- among them
the United States, the United Kingdom, Nigeria, and
South Africa -- and were chosen ''confidentially'' in three
categories -- fiction,
non-fiction, and drama.

According to the administrators, the nine men and women were "honored
for their literary achievements as well as
their potential, [and] the winners will each receive $150,000 to support their
work." Not a bad payday for working writers.

The 2015 winners are: in fiction, Teju Cole, Helon Habila, and Ivan
Vladislavić; in non-fiction, Edmund de Waal, Geoff Dyer, and John Jeremiah
Sullivan; and in drama, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Helen Edmundson, and Debbie
Tucker Green.

The prizes were set up, according to Windhan's will, ''to call
attention to literary achievement and
provide writers with the opportunity to focus on their work independent of
financial concerns.''

And get this: there is no submission process, and winners are
determined by a global group of invited nominators, a jury in each
category, and a selection committee.

I want to apply.

Oh, wait a minute, I forgot: there is no application form or
submission process. This all just happens like magic, and every year
for the next 100 years it will happen again and again. Long live the
vision of Donald Windham, American dreamer..

And to think that Windham himself never went to Yale and had no
connection with the Ivy League college. Campbell went to Princeton. So
in a way, Yale finds itself the beneficiary of an amazing literary

“The Windham-Campbell Prizes were created by a writer to support other
writers,” Kelleher said in a recent press release. “Donald Windham
recognized that the most significant gift he could give to another writer
was time to write. In addition to the prestige it confers, the prize gives
them just that -- with no strings attached."

As you can imagine, the winners of the 2015 are happy beyond words,
and the 2016 prizes are already being talked about, although nobody
knows who will be chosen.

De Waal, a British artist and author, said the prize is a Godsend.

“I still cannot believe the news,” he said.



Literary festival honors 8 writers

The 8 recipients of the 2014 Donald Windham-Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prize are converging at Yale for a festival celebrating their literary work and careers.

The festival began late Monday afternoon with a keynote address by novelist Zadie Smith and a prize ceremony, which awarded $150,000 to each of the honored authors. Throughout the week, the prizewinners will engage in a variety of events, such as Master’s Teas, panels and conversations with faculty, all of which are free and open to the public.
At the prize ceremony, University President Peter Salovey spoke in front of a crowd of about 200 to thank the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library for serving as “custodian for the prizes” and Prize Program Director Michael Kelleher for overseeing the festival. Salovey then offered some general remarks about the prizewinners — a diverse group of writers selected by jurors from within Yale and outside the University — and praised their various works and dedication to their craft.
“Yale strives in all that we do to recognize and inspire and nurture excellence in every field,” Salovey said. “Each of you in your own ways embodies this ideal.”
Salovey proceeded to distribute the prizes to each recipient by genre: Pankaj Mishra and John Vaillant were honored for nonfiction; Nadeem Aslam, Jim Crace and Aminatta Forna for fiction; and Kia Corthron, Sam Holcroft and Noëlle Janaczewska for drama.
Kelleher said the planning of the festival began in earnest after the prizewinners were announced in March. He added that the festival’s events are chosen in accordance with the honored authors’ literary works and intellectual interests. As an example, he cited a Tuesday-night screening of “The Lost Libraries of Timbuktu,” a BBC documentary narrated by prizewinner Forna, a Scottish-born Sierra Leone writer who focuses on war and civil violence.
“In planning this festival, no matter who wins the prize, what kind of writing they do, or where they’re from, there is someone here who can talk about their work or what they’re interested in,” Kelleher said.
From Tuesday to Thursday, each of the prizewinners will engage in conversations with Yale faculty members about their writings and will also participate in Master’s Teas hosted by residential colleges. In addition, the playwrights amongst the prizewinners will give public master classes, which will include staged readings of their works and discussion.
The “highlight” of Tuesday night, according to Kelleher, is “Literary Speed Dating,” an event organized at Beinecke Library by Yale undergraduates during which attendees will be sorted into groups to have 10-minute conversations with each prizewinner as they move from table to table.
There will be three panels on Wednesday — “Crafting Nonfiction Narratives,” “Art of the Novel” and “Writing the Environment” — featuring the prizewinners and faculty members.
On Thursday, the Beinecke will showcase pictures of Haida Gwaii with prizewinner Vaillant, whose novel, “The Golden Spruce,” featured the setting of the British Columbia archipelago. Playwright and prizewinner Corthron will also discuss her work with Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway GRD ’95 through the Endeavors Series.
Each of the prizewinners will read from their work during the festival’s closing ceremony on Thursday. “Last year’s event was one of the best readings I’ve ever seen,” Kelleher said.
For the first time, the festival will host an event in New York City on Friday evening, featuring Forna, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Lorraine Adams and Caine Prize for African Writing winner E. C. Osondu in conversation.
Students present at the Monday’s prize ceremony had largely positive responses to the event.
“What interested me as I was reading the program was the [opportunity to live] as a writer without any distractions, and the amount of prize money is pretty amazing,” Leigh Vila ’17 said. “Being a writer myself, I always try to find time to write and it’s so difficult, so it’s pretty cool and amazing this even exists,” she said.
Caroline Sydney ’16, a staff columnist for the News, said she was interested that time was used as a theme throughout the prize ceremony. She said while University administrators said the purpose of the prizes is to give these writers time to dedicate to their craft, the prizes also give Yale students the opportunity to spend time with these authors.
The Windham-Campbell prizes totaled $1.35 million to nine writers last year.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

NICK KRISTOF: ''i want to write more about climate this year, so let me look into cli-fi....''

Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times opinion column real estate squatter last year in January 2014 told me, after I contacted him and asked, politely,  if he could do a column one day on cli fi in movies and novels as a way to wake up the world, after reading his column blog saying he wanted to write MORE about climate issues in 2014, he told me by email and twitter. .... ''i want to write more about climate this year, so let me look into cli-fi....''. HE NEVER DID! 2014 came and went and nothing about cli fi by Nick. He just let the issue go by the wayside. He wrote 52 columns and more and never once wrote what he promised he would write. Maybe in 2015?

Nick Kristof NYT last year Jan. 2014 told me ''i want to write more about climate this year, so let me look into cli-fi....''. HE NEVER DID!

In his very good blog post that got me thinking, he wrote:

''So, readers, you’re right! This is a neglected topic. We need to focus more on climate change, and perhaps that can help nudge our political system out of paralysis to take protective action to reduce the threat to the only planet we have.''
So i asked him if he could devote one column in 2014 to the rise of cli fi in novels and movies and he replied personally by email, .....I have known Nick for a long time, Oregon, Alaska, China, Japan, Taiwan.....he replied: ''i want to write more about climate this year, so let me look into cli-fi....''. BUT HE NEVER DID! WHY NOT, NICK, WHY NOT?


Jan. 18, 2014

NICK's Jan. 19 column:
HERE’S a scary fact about America: We’re much more likely to believe that there are signs that aliens have visited Earth (77 percent) than that humans are causing climate change (44 percent).
That comes to mind because a couple of weeks ago, I asked readers for suggestions of “neglected topics” that we in the news business should cover more aggressively in 2014. Some 1,300 readers recommended a broad range of issues, which I look forward to pilfering (with credit!) — and many made a particularly compelling case for climate change.
A reader from Virginia quoted James Hansen, the outspoken climate scientist: “Imagine a giant asteroid on a direct collision course with Earth. That is the equivalent of what we face now.”
Another reader, Daria, acknowledged that the topic isn’t sexy but added: “Whether we ‘believe in it’ or not, all species on Earth are being subject to frightening disruptions in our weather, food supply, land.”

You would think that we would be more attentive, with the federal government a few days ago declaring parts of 11 states disaster areas because of long-term drought. More than 60 percent of California is now in extreme drought.
Yet we in the news media manage to cover weather very aggressively, while we’re reticent on climate. Astonishingly, coverage of climate has actually declined in mainstream news organizations since peaking in 2007, according to the count of researchers at the University of Colorado. (Coverage did increase last year after a low in 2012.)
The proportion of Americans who say they believe that global warming is real has fallen since 2007 as well, and climate beliefs have fallen victim to political polarization. In 1997, there was no significant gap between Republicans and Democrats in thinking about climate change. These days, 66 percent of Democrats say human activity is the main cause of global warming; 24 percent of Republicans say so.
My take is that when Democrats, led by Al Gore, championed climate change, Republicans instinctively grew suspicious. Yet the scientific consensus is stronger than ever. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in September raised its confidence that human activity is the main cause of warming from 90 percent probability to 95 percent or higher.
When we have this disjunction between scientific consensus and popular perception — well, that should light a fire under those of us in the news media.
An excellent basis for discussion is the new book “The Climate Casino” by William Nordhaus, a Yale University economist. Professor Nordhaus is a moderate whose work has been cited by climate deniers, yet he concludes: “Global warming is a major threat to humans.”
Nordhaus acknowledges uncertainty but sees that as a problem: “The outcome will produce surprises, and some of them are likely to be perilous.”
For all the uncertainty, Nordhaus cites several areas of strong agreement among experts: Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere exceed those observed for at least the last 650,000 years; hurricanes will grow more intense; the Arctic will become ice free in summer; oceans will rise up to 23 inches by 2100 (more if there were major melting of ice sheets); and the global temperature will likely be 3.5 degrees to 7.5 degrees Fahrenheit higher in 2100 than in 1900.
A 7.5 degree difference in average temperature may not sound like much. But it’s about the differential by which Arizona is warmer than New Jersey.
Nordhaus warns that “the pace of global warming will quicken over the decades to come and climate conditions will quickly pass beyond the range of recent historical experience.”
Perhaps the greatest risk is various discontinuities and feedback loops that are difficult for climate models to account for. Melting of the Greenland ice sheet is typically predicted to add only a few inches to sea level rise by 2100, Nordhaus says. But ice dynamics are still poorly understood, and that matters a great deal. If the whole Greenland ice sheet disintegrated, that would raise sea level by 24 feet.
Climate change is hugely exacerbated by changing patterns of how we choose to live, often in danger zones such as extremely vulnerable coastal zones — from New Jersey to the Philippines. This enormously increases the economic and human costs of hurricanes, rising seas and changing weather patterns.
In politics and the military, we routinely deal with uncertainty. We’re not sure that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon, but we still invest in technologies and policies to reduce the risks. We can’t be sure that someone is going to hijack a plane, but we still screen passengers.
So, readers, you’re right! This is a neglected topic. We need to focus more on climate change, and perhaps that can help nudge our political system out of paralysis to take protective action to reduce the threat to the only planet we have.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Tony Scott, aka Anthony Oliver Scott, aka film critic A.O. Scott talks ''cli-fi'' someday in the future?

ao scott, interview by pamela weidman

Tony Scott is not there yet but he is inching closer to talking about cli fi movies in a future Hollywood. He'll get there. Why? Well, for one thing, Tony's a film critic for the New York Times, where he has worked for 15 years. He thinks about cultural memes and cultural prisms from a lot of different angles, including climate change and global warming angles: he has a degree in literature, a career as a film critic, and writes broad cultural ''think'' pieces. Which sets him up perfectly to discuss the rise of cli fi in novels and movies. But not yet. He's still shy on this. But he's getting ready.

He's inching closer and closer to going public with his ideas on the rise of cli fi in American culture.

How did Tony, who comes from a half Jewish half Christian background, like almost half of all Americans these days, it seems, become a movie critic?
Well, Janet Maslin at the Times was just stepping down as chief film critic about 15 years ago. One thing led to another and Tony applied for the job, never having been  a film critic before. He did do some book reviews earlier, and he knew how to write well, but no movie reviews. But yes, he knew how to write, and he had some Times connections, and some friends stepping up the plate for him inside the Times, and he sat down and wrote some audition pieces, and then much to his surprise -- he got the gig! As John Lennon said: Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."

He says in a recent interview with a young reporter: "[I got the NYT gig] having never been a professional movie reviewer, and with a very skimpy film resumé. But I managed to fake it for long enough and convincingly enough that I could still get away with it."

HE ACTUALLY SAID THAT TO A REPORTER WHO WROTE IT DOWN AND QUOTED HIM THAT WAY!!! [Quote unquote: "I managed to fake it for long enough and convincingly enough that I could still get away with it." Should a major Times film critic say that in public? What does it do to the Times brand when reporters say such things?]

So does Tony tthink of himself as more of a film critic, or as a cultural critic?

To put it plainly, most of all, Tony is a writer, and a very good one at that, and he mostly thinks himself that way -- as a writer. He can do book reviews, he can do movie reviews, he can do think pieces, he can write opeds, he can even write unsigned lead editorials if they asked him too, but he just thinks of himself as a writer.

When Tony wrote a very well received Times think piece on the death of adulthood [“The Death of Adulthood in American Culture”], there was a lot of interesting feedback on Twitter and in other publications. And the piece had provoked a lot of thoughtful responses, pro and con. Which is what a good writer does.

Is Tony going to write that think piece on the rise of cli fi in literature and movies soon? Maybe sooner than later, but time will tell. He likes knowing what people think of his reviews and often goes on Twitter to see who like what and why. So after seeing the many tweets with the #clifi hashtag on Twitter, Tony's getting closer and closer to writing about the cli fi meme.


Tony was born in Northampton, Massachusetts. Both of his parents were professors. His mother, Joan Wallach Scott, is a Professor at the School of Social Science in the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.[2] His father, Donald Scott, is a professor of American history at The City University of New York (CUNY). He is a great nephew of the Jewish actor Eli Wallach (his maternal grandfather was Eli's brother).[3] Tony is Jewish on his mother's side, Christian on his father's side.[4] He attended public schools in Providence, Rhode Island, including Classical High School. He graduated magna cum laude from some scruffy minor Ivy League school in 1988 with a degree in literature.
He has a son and a daughter, so Tony knows that cli fi speaks to future generations, too.

Academia not wanting to be left out in the cold, is shining spotlight on Cli-Fi genre, too


Cli-fi is not just a short easy to remember term for newspaper headlines and book review sections. It's also becoming a HOT WORD among academics worldwide, and not just in the English language. Professors and researchers are writing academic papers by the climate refugee boatland now about the rise of the cli fi genre, one academic even calling it "the mushroomin genre of cli fi", and journals are now publishing papers on cli fi and calling for more papers in the future via CFP tweets and bulletins. CFP stands for Call For Papers.

Among the journalists preparing a major news story about cli fi and academic is Jennifer Howard of the Chronicle of Higher Education in Washington DC, where she has the backing of her editor Jennifer Ruark. So stay tuned for a very good and thorough piece of reporting on cli fi in academia.

Universities around the world are following the cli fi meme now, from Monash University in Australia to UCLA and Tufts in the USA and McGill in Canada and Oxford in the UK. Academics writing in Danish, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese and Hebrew are also purusing the meme in academic papers and journals.

Cli fi has jumped the shark. It's everywhere now.


1. the academic community that focuses on eco-criticism and
environmental literature and sci fi studies and dystopian studies --
academic journals in USA, UK and Australia so far! - with over 5 cli
fi journals already published by these academics -- with
participation of top academics worldwide, film studies people,
American novels experts, etc -- from Jon Christensen at UCLA to
Stepheanie LeMenager at Univ of Oregon (she was main focus of NYT news
article on April 1, 2014) and Asher Minn and Rowland Hughes in UK and
25 more -- CLI FI has come to academia and THAT is the story here for

On Nov. 5, Margaret Atwood will deliver keynote speech at ASU, in
Arizona, for their new academic unit studyign CLI FI novels and
movies. !!!! Maybe that would be a good news peg for you.?

at ASU, professor Dr. Ed Finn is coordinating all this and is the go
to guy for info and quotes there. Jon Christensen at UCLa is also
involved in cli fi now. A colllege in the midwest is launching the
world 's first CLI FI MOVIE AWARDS as an annual event at their annual
sustainability film festival which has already been held for 6 years
and the movie awards are dubbed THE CLIFFIES. Monash University in
Australia is also a leader in cli fi studies. -- David Holmes and Kate
Rigby and Andrew Milner there. all PHDS.

Jennifer, this is BIG in academic now. Look into it. Maybe the ASU
Atwood thing is news peg? And also academic publishers are doing CLI
FI nonfiction essays and PHD papers on cli fi studies, including UVA,
Universtiy of Virgina Press, with publication of major study called


The Oscars 2015 did their best to distract America and the world from the pressing issues of global warming


By the end of the bloated four-hour long Oscars 2015 telecast, in which not one movie nominated or gonged was about the pressing issues of climte change or global warming, the annual CLI-FI MOVIE AWARDS -- a digital online production linked at this site: --served as punctuation to an awards season fraught with conversations and think pieces about Hollywood’s lack of concern for the Earth or climate issues.

The host Neil Patric Harris didn't say this but he just might as well have said something like:  "Welcome to the 87th Oscars. Tonight, we will do our best to distract America and the world with movies about everything -- except climate change!"

That's why the CLI FI MOVIE AWARDS were born. More next year, too.

In January 2015, when the Oscar nominations were announced, the social media hashtag alt.oscars was created -- file under #altoscars -- to bring attention worldwide to the Oscars lack of concern or interest in climate change issues.

A TV comic even referenced it in his inaugural broadcast of The Climate Show. “The Oscar nominations are out, and they’re so far away from shedding light on the climate change or global warming, a grand jury has decided to indict them for crimes against the future,” he lamented.

One climate activist organized a boycott of the Oscars telecast, telling his Twitter followers: “Do anything other than watch the Oscars,” he said in phone interview. “They don’t represent climate concerns at all. They don’t really care about your thoughts, and you’re just watching for that one snippet of your favorite actor who’s going to be on for 59 seconds and maybe speak up for the Earth or use that new movie genre term of cli-fi. They don’t deserve the ratings if they’re not going to think about climate issues the other 364 days of the year.”

Sunday was a study in contradictions; there was overwhelming emphasis on the world we live in, yet nothing about climate change or global warning. Nada .
There was a little too much envelope-pushing at this year's Oscars and not enough love for the Eearth and climate change issues for the tastes of climate activists worldwide.
On a night when politics dominated the winners' acceptance speeches -- and these shout out were good and imporant, yes, including best supporting actress winner Patricia Arquette's call for equal wages for women, best original song winner John Legend's blistering condemnation of the number of African American men in prisons and best director Alejandro G. Iñárritu's immigration reference -- climate activists were left....out in the cold...again.
"Hollywood can't help itself," said one climate activist in Alaska.
Every year the Oscars telecast is too long and filled with inappropriate distract the hell out of American flourishes, and tonight was no different. Maybe the rise of the CLI FI MOVIE AWARDS will help wake up Hollywood? Don't bet on it. Hollywood is in the business of distraction!

"The Oscars are a sad joke, very much like our government's lack of concern for global impact events once the Climapoclypse sets in in 30 generations," tweeted another climate activist in what looked to be like existenial despair. "So many things are wrong!"