What effect will global warming have on Dundee? Can recycling be taken too far? What price a Tesco apple? These are just some of the questions asked in a new anthology of short stories and poems from a University of Dundee creative writing group.
"A Long Way From Eden" is the seventh collection of work from Nethergate Writers to appear in print. The group comprises students from two Continuing Education classes at the University tutored by Esther Read. The book will be launched at the University's Dalhousie Building on Tuesday, 8th October.
The latest publication was inspired by the work of the Centre for Environmental and Climate Change and Human Resilience (CECHR), a cross-disciplinary initiative between the University and the James Hutton Institute which aims to promote more sustainable and equitable food, water, energy and health futures.
The book's cover was created by local photographer Rikki O'Neill, and the work of artist Jean Duncan features throughout. Jean is currently undertaking a residency with CECHR, and the work she has produced offers her own distinctive view of the environment in light of the initiative's research.
Esther explained, "Professor John Rowan, Director of CECHR, gave a presentation to both groups on the sorts of challenges facing a world where a rising human population has to decide how best to secure sustainable and equitable food, water, and energy. There are big questions implicit in all of this, but one of the ways that fiction can contribute to the debate is by addressing these big issues at a human level."
Whilst a number of the writers found humour in the subject, producing everything from farce to satire, others were more pessimistic and considered how humans might cope with a coming ecological apocalypse.
Between these two extremes, there are pieces that celebrate the richness of the environment, offer practical solutions to the problems, and dramatise the effect of climate change on individuals. Several offer a global perspective in settings as far afield as Australia, Zimbabwe and the USA.
Professor John Rowan praised the completed anthology saying, "This is a wonderful and stimulating collection which resolutely defies convention and pigeon-holing."
"A Long Way From Eden" will be launched at the Dalhousie Building from 7pm on 8th October, when the writers will read from their work and answer questions from the audience, followed by a drinks reception.
The writers will also be signing copies of the book in the Dundee branch of Waterstones on Saturday, 12th October from 10am to 4pm. There will be a further opportunity to hear the group read in the Dundee Central Library on November 27th. Places for this free event can by booked by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org