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Climate Writer

Readers, writers and audiences consider the climate emergency

Published on: 4 March 2021

What are our individual roles in the Climate Emergency? How can reading, writing and discussion help to deepen empathy and understanding, extend our imaginations, and encourage us to take action?

Writing the Climate

Writing the Climate is led by Linda France as part of her climate writing residency at New Writing North and Newcastle University. The residency began in 2020 after both organisations declared a Climate Emergency in 2019. New funding from Arts Council England now allows Linda to build on the success of the original programme with a varied programme of activity that encourages engagement at all levels.

The public part of the project includes:

  •  A monthly Writing Hour: an online experiment in shared writing time, where people can come together simply to write, starting on Tuesday 30 March
  •  A Climate Reading Group: where participants discuss a contemporary work with an environmental theme, starting on Tuesday 13 April, reading Mama Amazonica by Pascale Petit
  •  How to Start Writing the Climate: a series of workshops for both established and emerging writers who are interested in turning their attention to the climate crisis, starting on Tuesday 4 May
  •  A podcast series, In Our Element: featuring special guests, poems and reflection, to be broadcast weekly in the lead up to COP26
  •  A new collective collaborative project, to follow the 2020 filmpoem Murmuration

Alongside this, Linda will also be conducting her own research, including being an observer at the North of Tyne Citizen’s Assembly on Climate Change, and writing poetry for a new collection to be published by New Writing North in 2022.


Climate writer in residence Linda France

A culture of active hope

Linda France said: “Despite the global pandemic, we laid strong foundations in the first ten months of the Residency and made our mark, but it was always clear there was more to be done. Looking ahead, the next two years of Writing the Climate offer space for more creative collaborative projects so as many people as possible can respond to the accelerating challenge of the Climate Emergency and establish a culture of active hope.

"Writing and reading don’t just raise awareness, they change awareness – an important part of fulfilling our commitment to a fairer carbon-zero future. I am excited at the prospect of seeing how much we can achieve, from one small spot on the planet, how far the ripples of interconnectedness might extend.”

Professor Julie Sanders, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost at Newcastle University, said: “Our University has put social and environmental justice and climate action research and learning at the heart of its values and its vision so it is absolutely wonderful that the Arts Council has enabled us, working with New Writing North and Linda France, to take this thinking even further. Linda will help us all to find the words and the stories we need for collective sense-making, both in the build up to COP26 and in the urgent actions necessary to combat the climate and ecological emergency.”

Anna Disley, Executive Director (Programme and Impact) at New Writing North, said: "Since declaring a climate emergency in 2019 New Writing North has been determined to act to make change. This residency is about navigating the complexity and tangled connections of climate change, but it is also about encouraging people to see how they as individuals can act to make change, providing individual agency in the face of this enormous challenge."

Linda France’s eight full-length poetry collections include: The Simultaneous Dress (Bloodaxe 2002) and The Toast of the Kit-Cat Club (Bloodaxe 2005), You are Her (Arc Publications 2010) and Reading the Flowers (Arc 2016). Linda also edited the acclaimed anthology Sixty Women Poets (Bloodaxe 1993), a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation. She completed a PhD on writing, plants and landscape in 2019 and received a Society of Authors Cholmondley Award in 2020.

To follow Writing the Climate or take part in any of the activities, visit New Writing North.


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