Live Event: Robert Macfarlane and Rebecca Solnit on Nature Writing

The human relationship to nature and place is dynamic, and so is the writing that grows out of that fundamental connection. Two celebrated authors joined Orion‘s Editor Jennifer Sahn for a wide-ranging discussion of how the genre of nature writing is evolving.


  1. Here are some of the books Robert Macfarlane and Rebecca Solnit shared during the event:

    Robert Macfarlane’s recommended books and articles:

    Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams
    Samuel Beckett, Waiting For Godot
    David Gessner, Sick of Nature
    Cormac McCarthy, The Road
    Edward Abbey, The Monkey Wrench Gang
    Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
    Rebecca Solnit, Hope In The Dark
    Rebecca Solnit, Savage Dreams
    Caspar Henderson, The Book of Barely Imagined Beings
    Callum Roberts, The Ocean of Life: How our Seas Are Changing
    Tim Robinson, Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage and : Labyrinth
    WG Sebald, The Rings of Saturn
    Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain
    Tim Dee, Four Fields
    Gilbert White, A Natural History of Selborne
    JA Baker, The Peregrine
    JG Ballard, The Drowned World
    Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac and Other Writings on Ecology and Conservation, ed. Curt Meine, Library of America edition (2012)

    …and articles:

    No Heaven on Earth by Verlyn Klinkenborg, Bookforum, 2008

    Super natural: the rise of the new nature writing, by Tim Dee, The National, Aug 22, 2013:


    …and Rebecca Solnit’s ~

    Thoreau, The Maine Woods; Walden; various essays

    Mary Austen, Land of Little Rain

    Willa Cather, Death Comes to the Archbishop & My Antonia

    Peter Freuchen’s Arctic chronicles

    Carobeth Laird, Encounters with an Angry God

    George Stewart, Names on the Land

    Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

    Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

    Susan Griffin, Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her

    Carolyn Merchant, The Death of Nature

    Leslie Marmon Silko, Garden in the Dunes; Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit

    Paul Shepard, Man in the Landscape; Nature and Madness

    Charles Bowden, Blood Orchid

    Louise Erdrich, The Last Report on the Miracle at Little No Horse

    Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines (problematic but majestic)

    Robyn Davidson, Tracks

    TTW, Refuge (Leap?)

    Jaime de Angulo’s writings on Native Californians

    Jim Harrison, Dalva and The Shape of the Journey

    John Haines, The Owl in the Mask of the Dreamer [poems]

    Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams

    Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America & Collected Poems

    Richard K. Nelson’s writings on subarctic peoples

    Piers Vitebsky, The Reindeer People

    Gary Paul Nabhan, The Desert Smells Like Rain

    Chip Ward, Canaries on the Rim

    Jane Tompkins, West of Everything

    Jill Fredston, Rowing to Latitude

    Keith Basso, Wisdom Sits in Places

    Hugh Brody, The Other Side of Eden

    Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place & garden essays

    William Kittridge, Hole in the Sky & Having It All

    Gary Snyder, The Practice of the Wild (and Tom Killian and Gary Snyder, Tamalpais Walking and The High Sierra of California)

    Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

    Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    Kathleen Norris, Dakota: A Spiritual Geography

    Bill McKibben, Eaarth, Deep Economy, Oil and Honey

    Andrew C. Isenberg, The Destruction of the Bison

    Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire

    Alan Weisman, The World Without Us

    Rob MacFarlane, Mountains of the Mind & The Wild Places

    Amy Leach, Things That Are

  2. Great podcast Jenifer. And, i am a big fan of David Gessner’s books, reviews and essays, but could never get my hands at Sick of Nature. Looking forward to reading it. Thanks.

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