Landscape, Change and the Long Road Ahead
Contact: Caryn Sagal, 410.363.9583
Acclaimed Science Fiction Author/Editor/Literary Critic, Jeff VanderMeer
Giving Keynote Speech at Loyola University Maryland Humanities Symposium, Mar. 17
Free hybrid event intended to spark community dialogue on the environment and impact of climate change
BALTIMORE (Feb. 8, 2022) – Jeff VanderMeer, considered “one of the world’s foremost weird fiction writers,” will deliver the keynote address, Landscape, Change and the Long Road Ahead, at Loyola University Maryland’s Humanities Symposium 2022.
Free and open to the general public as well as the region’s academic communities, the lecture takes place Thursday, Mar. 17, at 6 p.m. at McGuire Hall (Andrew White Student Center, 4501 North Charles St., Baltimore, Md. 21210). It also will be livestreamed for those who want to attend virtually.
VanderMeer will participate in a book signing immediately following the lecture with books available for purchase.
Called “the weird Thoreau” by The New Yorker, he frequently speaks about issues related to climate change and storytelling. His NYT-bestselling Southern Reach trilogy has been translated into over 35 languages. The first volume, Annihilation, won both the Nebula Award and Shirley Jackson Award, and was adapted into a movie by Paramount.
Recent works include Dead Astronauts, Borne (a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award) and The Strange Bird, which are being developed for TV by AMC and continue to explore themes related to the environment, animals and our future. His latest novel, Hummingbird Salamander, wraps questions about climate change, identity and our world into a tightly plotted thriller full of unexpected twists and elaborate conspiracy. It has been optioned by Netflix and Michael Sugar (Anonymous Content).
At the Humanities Symposium keynote, VanderMeer will explore what it means to be human in an age of extreme weather events and escalating climate change. He will discuss ecological themes in his own writing, as well as reflect the environmental themes in this year’s Symposium text, The Left Hand of Darkness. Winning both the Hugo and Nebula Awards, this 1969 novel from Ursula K. Le Guin follows a human ambassador’s visit to an icy planet on which the gender of its inhabitants is inherently fluid. (Loyola classes will discuss this text during student-faculty colloquia, taking place Mar. 15 and 16.)
“Le Guin told readers that her intention was not to write a prediction about the future, but to use science fiction to describe our present reality. When I think of contemporary science fiction writers who best achieve that goal, Jeff VanderMeer immediately comes to mind,” said Marian Crotty, Humanities Symposium director and professor of writing. “His writing is varied, engaging and accessible, but also tackles some of the most pressing issues of our times.”
“I’m thrilled that he will visit our campus and hope the larger community will join us for an important discussion where we can reflect upon our connection to the landscape around us and consider the role that stories play in determining what seems possible,” Crotty added. “With signs of climate change becoming increasingly ubiquitous, we must learn not only to acknowledge this reality, but also how to live in a changing world.”
While admission is free, advance registration is required for both in-person and virtual attendance. To reserve seating, visit loyola.edu/join-us/humanities-symposium, visit the Andrew White Student Center box office on a Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., or call the box office at 410-617-5932.
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For interviews with Jeff VanderMeer and/or Loyola students/faculty about literature and landscape, and on-campus initiatives to combat climate change, contact Caryn Sagal at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410.363.9583.