BPL Presents: October Green Series

Monday, October 19, 6:30 PM ET
Sulaiman Addonia, Lauren Groff, John Freeman and Lina Mounzer on Tales of Two Planets
Live via Zoom. Free with RSVP through Brooklyn Public Library

Building from his acclaimed anthology Tales of Two Americas, beloved writer and editor John Freeman draws together a group of our greatest writers from around the world to help us see how the environmental crisis is hitting some of the most vulnerable communities where they live.

In the past five years, John Freeman, previously editor of Granta, has launched a celebrated international literary magazine, Freeman’s, and compiled two acclaimed anthologies that deal with income inequality as it is experienced. In the course of this work, one major theme came up repeatedly: Climate change is making already dire inequalities much worse, devastating further the already devastated. But the problems of climate change are not restricted to those from the less developed world.

Galvanized by his conversations with writers and activists around the world, Freeman engaged with some of today’s most eloquent storytellers, many of whom hail from the places under the most acute stress–from the capital of Burundi to Bangkok, Thailand. The response has been extraordinary. Margaret Atwood conjures up a dystopian future in a remarkable poem. Lauren Groff whisks us to Florida; Edwidge Danticat to Haiti; Tahmima Anam to Bangladesh; Yasmine El Rashidi to Egypt, while Eka Kurniawan brings us to Indonesia, Chinelo Okparanta to Nigeria, and Anuradha Roy to the Himalayas in the wake of floods, dam building, and drought. This is a literary all-points bulletin of fiction, essays, poems, and reportage about the most important crisis of our times. Three of the anthology's writers will read their work and speak about the issues in the book with Freeman, who will read too:

Sulaiman Addonia spent his early life in a refugee camp and went on to earn an MA from the University of London. He is the author of The Consequences of Love, which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and translated into more than twenty languages, and Silence is My Mother Tongue, which was longlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction.

John Freeman is the editor of Freeman's, a literary annual of new writing, and author of several books of nonfiction including How to Read a Novelist and Dictionary of the Undoing, as well as two collections of poems, Maps and The Park. The former editor of Granta, he is now Artist-in-Residence at NYU and executive editor of The Literary Hub. Between 2014 and 2020, he edited a series of anthologies on inequality, concluding with Tales of Two Planets, which focuses on the climate crisis. Freeman's work has been translated into more than 20 languages, he lives in London. 

Lauren Groff is The New York Times bestselling author of three novels, The Monsters of TempletonArcadia, and Fates and Furies, and the celebrated short story collection Delicate Edible Birds. She has won the PEN/O. Henry Award, and been a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her work has been featured in The New Yorker, along with several Best American Short Stories anthologies, and she was named one of Granta's 2017 Best Young American Novelists. She lives in Gainesville, Florida, with her husband and sons.

Lina Mounzer is a writer and translator living in Beirut. Her work has appeared in The New York TimesThe Paris Review1843Literary Hub, and Bidoun, as well as in the anthologies Hikayat: An Anthology of Lebanese Women’s Writing (Telegram Books: 2007) and Tales of Two Planets (Penguin Books: 2020) an anthology of writing on climate change and inequality.


Click here to register for this event on BPL's webpage

Registered audience members will receive a Zoom link prior to the event.

Books are available to order from Greenlight for in-store pickup or direct-to-home shipping. Please allow time for shipping if not currently on our shelves. 

Event date: 

Monday, October 19, 2020 - 6:30pm

Event address: 

Brooklyn, NY
Tales of Two Planets: Stories of Climate Change and Inequality in a Divided World By John Freeman (Editor) Cover Image
By John Freeman (Editor)
ISBN: 9780143133926
Availability: Not In Store / Available To Order (allow for shipping time to bookstore or direct-to-home)
Published: Penguin Books - August 4th, 2020

“If you’ve only ever read the headlines about climate change wreaking its worst havoc on the world’s most vulnerable, Tales of Two Planets is likely to shock you. For everyone else, it will be a humanization of the broad trends you’ve read about, rendered with poignant specificity by writers who have actually lived them.” Wired
“Full of such varied writing that there’s no opportunity for cliché to take hold . . . A reminder that excellent environmental writing can come from literally anywhere.” The New Republic

“The third in Freeman’s hat trick of anthologies that examines inequalities, Tales of Two Planets, may be the most important, for it addresses a colossal and irreversible threat: climate change [. . . This] collection is critical to understanding our planet beyond the scope of our own personal plights.” Literary Hub

“In this eye-opening anthology about climate change, an impressive cast of contributors including Edwidge Danticat, Mohammed Hanif, and Margaret Atwood reflect on how the grim horror of our current ecological reality is being felt around the world.” Elle

“A powerful and timely collection on a topic that cannot be ignored . . . Assembling the creative work of respected writers from both the developed and developing world, Freeman offers a sobering meditation on the future challenges that everyone will face.” Kirkus Reviews
“[E]nvironmental and humanitarian crises in Egypt, Mexico, Hawaii, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and beyond are brought forward in masterful works elegiac, angry, and ironic in Freeman’s clarion global chorus.” Booklist, starred review

“Tragically, climate change is one thing that's not on pause right now, and this impressive collection is a small but engaging way to remind yourself of that [. . .] Every piece is short but impactful.” Outside

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