How Barbara Kingsolver makes literature topical — from climate change to opioids
You can feel it: The sun is out, and so am I. I’m sitting in the parking lot of the downtown Barnes & Noble, where I am meeting with my new book agent, Bobbie Brown.
I’m sipping coffee, and we are sitting on a wooden bench. I have made a sandwich with two slices of the cheese I brought from home: a chunk of Swiss chard from my garden, and the soft white bread from the farm where I work.
This is a great day: My publisher is meeting with an editor, and I’m meeting with my agent — Bobbie, with whom I’ve been working for a decade, as well as an editor. It’s a normal Tuesday afternoon appointment for agents and editors, which is how I know how good my day is going to be.
Today, though, is special: Today they are going to talk about climate change, and what Bobbie has learned in her career, on the way from being a young agent to becoming a top-selling author and a public speaker.
“It’s time for me to talk to people about climate change,” she tells me. “This is a topic in which people are so passionate and so knowledgeable that we can use our influence as agents to get our authors to listen.”
Bobbie is sitting at an old wooden table. It’s where she had breakfast with me the day before in a Barnes & Noble cafe in Denver.
Her first book, Climate Change: A Young Scientist’s Warning: “How Earth’s Brains May Be Cracking Up,” came out two years ago. It’s a collection of stories about climate change written by young people who are trying to change the conversation about climate change in a way that inspires the public to act.
The books of this year’s Nobel laureates about climate change, including those by the late Paul Ehrlich, are just an extension of Bobbie’s book. There are also several books in her new book collection, Climate Change: The Human Impacts of Climate-Driven Disasters.
And she’s about to do what no one else has been able to do: speak. She’s an author and public speaker on climate change, and she’ll be bringing the ideas she’s learned from her