Literary Hub

WATCH: What Does Nature Writing Mean in 2020?

california tide pool

The natural world is full of mysteries, ones that writers and artists are uniquely equipped to unlock. In this panel sponsored by Heyday, four authors meet at a literary crossroads between hard science, lyrical prose, and visual sumptuousness. Naturalist, writer, and illustrator Obi Kaufmann turns his scientific acumen and artist’s palette on California’s most contested natural resource, water; while Josie Iselin wades into the deep end with an in-depth look at the magic of seaweed. John Muir Laws and Emilie Lygren take us into the revelatory practice of nature journaling.

Together, they’ll get into the weeds with a conversation that raises, and answers, the thorniest questions. How do these multifaceted artists learn the ecological nitty-gritty of their subjects? How does science inspire not only the research that makes these books so fascinating, but also the artwork that makes them beautiful to behold? How does nature writing, as a literary genre, inform and deepen the impact of scientific research?

“Nature journaling is a trampoline for my curiosity, observations, my inquiry, and creative thinking.”
John Muir Laws


The Bay Area Book Festival is a world-class annual literary celebration in Downtown Berkeley, attracting 25,000 attendees and featuring 250 authors in 130 programs. #UNBOUND, the year-round virtual branch of the Festival’s celebrated programming, amplifies bestselling and emerging voices across all genres, with a focus on social justice and diversity. We believe that books, and smart conversations about them, build bridges.

Obi Kaufmann, The State of Water· John Muir Laws, How To Teach Nature Journaling· Emilie Lygren, How To Teach Nature Journaling· Josie Iselin, The Curious World of Seaweed

Check for additional episodes and information on our Bay Area Book Festival #UNBOUND virtual series.

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