“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
14th august 2019
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Twitter: https://twitter.com/culturedeclares hashtag #LettersToTheEarth
link to pre-order letters to the earth: https://www.waterstones.com/book/letters-to-the-earth/anna-hope/kay-michael/9780008374440
Harpercollins to publish letters to the earth as campaign goes international
HarperCollins has acquired world rights to a collection of letters from the arts sector and wider public urgently responding to the climate crisis.
With an introduction by Dame Emma Thompson and notable contributions from Yoko Ono, Mark Rylance, Kate Tempest, Laline Paull, Richard Holloway, Daniela Torres Perez (co-founder of UK Student Climate Network), Simon McBurney, Matthew Todd, Polly Higgins, Dr Gail Bradbrook and Caroline Lucas MP.
The book will also include words and illustrations by CILIP Kate Greenaway prize-winner Jackie Morris.
The public are invited to continue writing and sharing their letters in the run up to the anthology's publication on 14th November.
All royalties will go towards ongoing creative campaigning for environmental justice.
This autumn, as Extinction Rebellion ramps up international activities, The Global Climate Strike calls on children and adults alike, and the movement of climate and ecological declarations widens, a collection of Letters to the Earth will be published by HarperCollins - letters from the arts sector and wider public urgently responding to the climate and ecological crisis.
Published in partnership with the climate and ecological movement Culture Declares Emergency, the letters will be co-curated by novelist Anna Hope, director Jo McInnes and theatre-maker Kay Michael, with an introduction by Dame Emma Thompson. The anthology will be published this November, as the public continue to write and share their letters. The book will be published on recycled paper, with all royalties going towards ongoing creative campaigning for environmental justice.
Earlier this year Culture Declares Emergency invited the British public to put pen to paper and write a letter to the Earth. The invitation was open to all – to think beyond the human narrative and bear witness to the scale of the crisis. Letters of love, loss, hope and action were written by over 1000 people worldwide – from school children to great grandparents, authors, scientists, nurses. They were read at 52 venues across the world and filmed by actors Andrew Scott and Alex Lawther in the run up to the International Extinction Rebellion. They took centre stage at Oxford Circus during the Rebellion's ‘Day Of Love’ on April 19th, performed by youth strikers and actors including Emma Thompson, Paapa Essiedu and Lee Ross.
Letters to the Earth weaves the voices of children and the public together with notable contributions from Yoko Ono, Mark Rylance, Kate Tempest, Laline Paull, Jay Griffiths, writer Nick Drake, Rob Cowen, Richard Holloway, Daniela Torres Perez (founder of UK Student Climate Network), Simon McBurney, Matthew Todd, Polly Higgins, Dr Gail Bradbrook, Farhana Yamin, Jem Bendell, Joanna Macy and Caroline Lucas MP. The book will also include words and illustrations by CILIP Kate Greenaway prize-winner Jackie Morris. Together they are an invitation to consider how this existential threat affects the way we live our lives and the action we take.
Grace Pengelly, Assistant Commissioning Editor at HarperCollins says, ‘These letters are in conversation, they talk to each other, plot rebellion 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 – between children and grandparents, politicians and activists, scientists and playwrights. Collectively, they dare us to imagine a new story, one that rethinks and re-imagines how we do everything.’
Anna Hope, Letters to the Earth team member and novelist 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. These are dark times, but this collection is a small fierce light – that may just help us to find our way home.’
Jackie Morris says, ‘Letters to the Earth is a collection of heart-songs to our planet. Written at a time when we have a choice to face the knowledge that humanity have, by their actions, done incredible damage to the ecosystem, and at a time when we have a last chance to make a change. They are not a call to arms, but a call to link arms and work together, using all of our imagination to find ways to cure, to heal both ourselves and the earth.’
Notes to editors
About Letters to the Earth
We are facing an unprecedented global emergency, the planet is in crisis and we are in the midst of a mass extinction event. Scientists believe we have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown. Carbon emissions and temperatures keep rising; ecological collapse has begun. On this course we are likely to see abrupt and irreversible devastation. The time for denial is over – we know the truth about climate change. It is time to act.
In February 2019 Letters to the Earth urged people to write a letter of response to this crisis. This could be a letter to or from the Earth, future or past generations, those who hold positions of power and influence, other species. The idea was open to interpretation: it could come from a personal place, be dramatic in form, be a call to action. The invitation was open to all - to think beyond the human narrative and to bear witness to the scale and horror of this crisis.
On a day of joint action, Friday 12th April 2019, venues worldwide presented readings of the submitted letters. A selection of letters as well as a specially curated 20 minute performance text were made rights free and globally available for presentation during the International Extinction Rebellion and School Strike For Climate, from 15th – 28th April.
The campaign is on-going, with people all around the world still writing and presenting their letters. The public are invited to take them to their communities, homes, the streets, to those in positions of power. To speak them, hear them, share them and let their voices be heard.
For more information and resources: www.letterstotheearth.com.
The Letters to the Earth founding and co-curating team are novelist Anna Hope, director Jo McIness and theatre-maker Kay Michael.
Culture Declares Emergency is a growing international community of individuals and organisations from the Arts and Culture sector concerned about the dire state of the planet. It launched in London on 3rd April 2019, and since its first Assembly at the Roundhouse on July 8th over 430 have now declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency with the commitment to act for environmental justice. This number continues to grow. Declarers include some of the UK's best known organisations including The Tate, Somerset House, The Royal Court Theatre, HOME Manchester, Julie’s Bicycle, Complicite and The Roundhouse, as well as artists Sir Anthony Gormley and Gavin Turk, director Katie Mitchell, actor Tamaryn Payne from Hollyoaks, and Peter Kosminsky, director of Wolf Hall and Secret State.
Sign up and learn more on http://culturedeclares.org/
HarperCollins UK is a division of HarperCollins Publishers, the second largest consumer book publisher in the world, with operations in 18 countries, and was named Publisher of the Year at the British Book Awards 2018. With two hundred years of history and more than 120 unique imprints around the world, HarperCollins publishes approximately 10,000 new books every year, in 17 languages, and has a print and digital catalogue of more than 200,000 titles. Writing across dozens of genres, HarperCollins authors include winners of the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Newbery and Caldecott Medals and the Man Booker Prize. HarperCollins UK has offices in London, Glasgow and Honley, and can be found online at www.harpercollins.co.uk.
HarperCollins UK is a division of HarperCollins Publishers, the second largest consumer book publisher in the world, with operations in 18 countries and was named Publisher of the Year at the British Book Awards 2018. With two hundred years of history and more than 120 branded imprints around the world, HarperCollins publishes approximately 10,000 new books every year in 17 languages, and has a print and digital catalogue of more than 200,000 titles. Writing across dozens of genres, HarperCollins authors include winners of the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Newbery and Caldecott Medals and the Man Booker Prize. HarperCollins, headquartered in New York, is a subsidiary of News Corp (NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA; ASX: NWS, NWSLV) and can be visited online at corporate.HC.com.
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19th april 2019