Let's talk about ''cli-fi'' in the 21st century, shall we?
In 2018, Cli-Fi has become a rapidly emerging genre within contemporary literature and film that addresses urgent environmental questions and concerns through the imaginative lens of fiction. Coined as “cli-fi” by literary activist Dan Bloom and accepted now as a buzzword in the popular press, it has recently become the focus of academic scholarship as well as college courses.
The Chicago Review of Books has a monthly ''cli-fi trends'' column by literary critic Amy Brady dedicated to highlighting recent publications in the genre; Goodreads has a list devoted to cli-fi; and Twitter has a lively feed via the hashtag #clifi.
So for writers, readers, and teachers working in 21st century cli-fi, let's try to map this growing field and articulate its role within the broader climate conversation.
In our discissions, we can address two key questions:
what is cli-fi?
and what are its uses?
You might propose a single 21st century fictional text through which to offer a definition of cli-fi, illuminate the field’s broader contours, and highlight its central questions and stakes.
Texts you focus on can be established or unexpected but should signal a significant issue within the field or represent an identifiable node in its larger network.
Topics might address:
what are 21st century cli-fi novels' key themes or motifs?
its formal features or generic affiliations?
its central methods, meanings, or motives?
what role should cli-fi play within academic, activist, or popular discourses of climate change?
Our discussion online here and on Twitter threads as a whole will seek to provoke lively debate both among its participants and with the audience as we work together to chart the field and identify its important trajectories.