Poet and nonfiction writer Lisa Wells joins the bookstore's Stephen Sparks to discuss her new book, Believers: Making a Life at the End of the World (FSG).
“We are living in an extreme moment, and one where it’s very hard to know what effective action looks like against crises of a scale we’ve not before encountered. These accounts of people trying to grapple with that reality are sometimes inspiring and often cautionary, and always a spur to thinking about how the rest of us might accomplish the most we can.”—Bill McKibben, author of Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?
This event will be streamed on our Crowdcast channel.
About Believers: Making a Life at the End of the World
We find ourselves at the end of the world; how then shall we live?
Like many of us, Lisa Wells has spent years overwhelmed by news of apocalyptic-scale climate change and a coming sixth extinction. She did not need to be convinced of the stakes. But what can be done? Wells embarked on a pilgrimage, seeking answers in dedicated communities—outcasts and visionaries—on the margins of society.
Wells meets Finisia Medrano, an itinerant planter and misanthrope leading a group of nomadic activists to rewild the American desert. She finds a group of environmentalist Christians practicing "watershed discipleship" in New Mexico; another group in Philadelphia turning the tools of violence into tools of farming—guns into plowshares. She watches the world’s greatest tracker teach how to read a trail, and visits botanists who are restoring land overrun by invasive species and destructive humans. She talks with survivors of catastrophic wildfires in California as they try to rebuild in new ways that acknowledge the fires will come again.
Blending reportage, memoir, history, and philosophy, Wells opens up seemingly intractable questions about the damage we have done and how we might reckon with our inheritance. “Brilliant in its quest . . . [and] an essential document of our time” (Charles D’Ambrosio), Believers demands transformation: If the Earth is our home, if our home is being destroyed—how then shall we live?
About Lisa Wells
Lisa Wells is a poet and nonfiction writer from Portland, Oregon. Her debut collection of poetry, The Fix (2018), won the Iowa Poetry Prize. Her poems and essays have been published by The New York Times, Harper’s Magazine, Granta, The Believer, n+1, The Iowa Review, The Poetry Foundation, and others. She lives in Seattle and is an editor for The Volta and Letter Machine Editions.