“As Sophocles and Shakespeare and Moliere and Ibsen and Brecht wrote plays as interventions into the major political crises of their worlds and of their time, so we now need our writers to record and reflect this probably biggest ever global challenge but, more than that, to help us understand what to do about it, how to prevent climate disruption from destroying so much that the west, the east, the north, the south have struggled to create over millennia. The time has always been now.”
David Lan, writer, producer, and former Artistic Director of The Young Vic Theatre
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26th Jan 2021:
Phone: 07814919928, 07747732995
Coming 18 February: Letters to the Earth paperback takes on pandemic and climate in critical year
On 18th February, HarperCollins will publish the Letters to the Earth: Writing to a Planet in Crisis paperback bringing together over 100 letters - from children, parents, scientists, nurses, artists and politicians worldwide - in response to the combined crises of the climate and ecological emergency, and the coronavirus pandemic.
With an introduction by Emma Thompson, there are letters responding to Covid-19 from Booker Prize-winning author Ben Okri and Skin’s star Freya Mavor, plus contributions from Yoko Ono, actor Mark Rylance, poet Kae Tempest, author Laline Paull, illustrator of The Lost Words Jackie Morris and environmental writer Jay Griffiths.
The letters are gathered into key themes: Love, Loss, Emergence, Hope and Action. Reflecting on the last year, Ben Okri writes that we are at the ‘beginning of an age of catastrophes’, and that we must listen to the earth’s ‘silent wisdom’ in order to live again. While Freya Mavor in her letter invites us to ‘Be brave. Be still. Be kind.’
“This book takes on the conversation we need to have in 2021,” said Kay Michael, co-editor of the book. “From a callout that resulted in over a 1000 letters flooding our inbox, it asks: How do we find the words to process what’s happening to the planet?
“From the letters we’ve seen it's clear that people care and are ready to act. The response to the pandemic shows us that change is possible.”
Emma Thompson, writing in the forward for the Letters to the Earth anthology, commented: “The generation below mine is different. I feel it and I read it in these letters. Read this book and pass it on. Plugging in that energy will recharge even the most tired of batteries. Hand on your passion for the planet to the next person and never, ever give in.”
REVIEWS OF THE BOOK
'All power to this amazing project.'
'Makes sense of the climate crisis in a whole new way'
‘The personal, the poetic, the dramatic, the salvo, the call to action: it’s all here, in this timely anthology’. THE ECOLOGIST
‘A beautiful book calling for us all to look after the place we call home…Read it, then buy it for everyone you know.’ RED MAGAZINE
‘An outpouring of grief, anger, hope, love and loss – a collection of letters penned by many thousands have been distilled into this powerful book. There are moments of real beauty in these pages.’ BBC WILDLIFE
‘Occasionally I come across books that have the power to influence lives, and this I would count as one of them.’ BEN EAGLE THINKING COUNTRY
Anna Hope, Letters to the Earth co-editor and author says, ‘I can’t think of another volume that has such potential to move, challenge and console us in these times of crisis. The writing in Letters to the Earth – much of it from children – does not shy away from the terrifying scale of the threat we all face, and offers no easy answers, but there is wisdom in these words.’
Grace Pengelly, publisher, says, ‘These letters are in conversation, they talk to each other and conspire about something called hope. They document the global, intergenerational conversation about the future of our earth that we are all a part of. Collectively, they dare us to imagine a new story, one that rethinks and reimagines how we do everything.’
NOTES TO EDITORS
Contributors available for potential interviews:
New contributor to the book - Ben Okri - Ben is a Nigerian-born British poet, playwright and novelist, winner of the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1991. He has published eleven novels, four books of Short Stories, two collections of essays, and three volumes of poems. His books have won numerous international Prizes including the Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Africa, the Paris Review Aga Khan Prize for Fiction, the Chianti Ruffino-Antico Fattore International Literary Prize, and the Premio Grinzane Cavour Prize.
New contributor to the book - Freya Mavor - Freya Mavor is a Scottish/Irish actor, writer and model living and working between France and the UK. She’s worked in film, theatre and television in two languages for over a decade. She is best known for playing Mini McGuinness in the E4 teen drama Skins, for which she was nominated for Best Actress at the TV Choice Awards 2012. She is at present working on a play which explores a relationship between two climate activists.
Anna Hope - Co-founder and co-editor of Letters to the Earth. Anna is the author of 3 novels including The Ballroom, published in 2016, which was called ‘a British version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’, by The Times. It was shortlisted for France’s Prix Femina award and won the Grand Prix des Lectrices ELLE award in 2018. It was a New York Times Editors’ Pick.
Farhana Yamin - Farhana is a mother, leading international environmental lawyer and climate change & development policy expert. As CEO of Track 0, she is widely credited with getting the goal of net 0 emissions by mid-century into the Paris Agreement. No. 2, BBC Woman's Hour Power List.
About Letters to the Earth
Letters to the Earth was launched in collaboration with Culture Declares Emergency by novelist Anna Hope, theatre director Jo McInnes, and theatre-maker Kay Michael in February 2019. They issued a call for the public to write a letter to or from the earth, other species, future or past generations, or people in positions of power.
Over 1000 letters were submitted within the first month: from 4 year olds to great grandparents; from artists, scientists, journalists, activists and politicians worldwide. The responses have been read for the public by actors including Emma Thompson and Paapa Essiedu, and have been performed at venues worldwide and on film with actors including Andrew Scott.
A year later, In April 2020 and in response to the global crisis that the Covid-19 pandemic has wrought, Letters to the Earth invited people from across the world to again give voice to their fears, hopes and visions for the future, and to write to each other in a time of separation and unknown. ‘Letters of Love in a Time of Crisis’ resulted in the premiere of 5 short films of over 50 letters, read by a global community of readers with special guests including Alison Steadman and Adam Bakri.
Culture Declares Emergency is a growing community of creative practitioners and organisations responding to the climate and ecological emergency.
Full list of contributors in the book:
Emma Thompson, Daniel Joyce, Tilly Lunken, Jenny Ngugi, Laline Paull, Ottilie Neser, Kayden Van Veldhoven, Sally Jane Hole, Jem Bendell, Niamh McCarthy, Simon Jay, Agnes Homer, Cate Chapman, Ella Crowley, Liz Darcy Jones, Simon McBurney, Ollie Barnes, Jackie Morris, Professor Stefan Rahmstorf, Tabitha Ravula, Stuart Capstick, Nicola Espitalier Noel, Jessica Tagg art Rose, Elliotte Mitchell, Joanna Pocock, Daniela Torres Perez, Tyrone Hugg ins, Haydon Bushell, Rob Cowen, Christopher Nicholson, Isobel Bruning, Saibh Da Silva, Justin Roughley, Clare Crossman, Mary Benefi el, Jessica Siân, Lindsay Clarke, Veronika Schmidinger, Anna Hope, Blythe Pepino, Jo Baker, Katie Skiffi ngton, Jay Griffiths, Ann Lowe, Ben Okri, Polly Higg ins, Claire Rousell, Nathan Bindoff , Emma Cameron, Alex Morrison Hoare, Tia Khodabocus, Tamara von Werthern, Bridget McKenzie, Harriet Hulme, Dr Rupert Read, Steve Waters, Molly Wingate, Bob Langton, Eva Geraghty, Kerala Irwin, Mark Rylance, Mairéad Godber, Renato Redentor Constantino, Nivya Stephen, Freya Mavor, Luke Jackson, Toni Spencer, Ashby Martin, Dr Gail Bradbrook, Hannah Palmer, Marian Greaves, Mike Prior, Minnie Rahman, Tamara Ashley, Casper Taylor, Professor Julia Steinberger, Luca Chantler, Caroline Lucas MP, Megan Murray-Pepper, Silvia Rodriguez, Lilli Hearsey, Trilby Rose, Eve Houston, Fiona Glen, Dulcie Deverell and Edi Rouse, Bishop Rosa dos Santos Bassotto, Farhana Yamin, Claire Rousell, Harkiran S. S. Dhingra
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2nd Sept 2020:
Young People Call on MPs to Back the CEE Bill:
“We are waiting for change before it’s too late”
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20th April 2020:
Letters to the Earth invites the world to share their
‘Letters of Love in a Time of Crisis’ this Earth Day
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1st April 2020:
Letters to the Earth launches ‘Letters of Love in a Time of Crisis’
in response to COVID-19
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14th August 2020:
HarperCollins to publish Letters to the Earth
as campaign goes international
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19th April 2019:
XR ‘Day of Love’ at Oxford Circus with special performances
from Emma Thompson, Lee Ross and Paapa Essiedu
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12th April 2019:
Letters to the Earth teams up with
Youth Strike 4 Climate at Oxford Circus
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5th April 2019:
‘End of the F**king World’ star Alex Lawther reads one of
1,000 Letters to the Earth being presented at
50 global arts venues on Friday 12 April
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20th March 2019:
Letters To The Earth - a nationwide response to the climate emergency
backed by Royal Court, Shakespeare’s Globe & National Theatre Wales
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