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Elizabeth Rush

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Join us in welcoming Providence author Elizabeth Rush for a discussion of her new book Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore. She will be joined by journalist Daniel Denvir, host of "The Dig" podcast (from Jacobin magazine).


Harvey. Maria. Irma. Sandy. Katrina. We live in a time of unprecedented hurricanes and catastrophic weather events, a time when it is increasingly clear that climate change is neither imagined nor distant—and that rising seas are transforming the coastline of the United States in irrevocable ways.

In this highly original work of lyrical reportage, Elizabeth Rush guides readers through some of the places where this change has been most dramatic, from the Gulf Coast to Miami, and from New York City to the Bay Area. For many of the plants, animals, and humans in these places, the options are stark: retreat or perish in place. Weaving firsthand accounts from those facing this choice—a Staten Islander who lost her father during Sandy, the remaining holdouts of a Native American community on a drowning Isle de Jean Charles, a neighborhood in Pensacola settled by escaped slaves hundreds of years ago—with profiles of wildlife biologists, activists, and other members of the communities both currently at risk and already displaced, Rising privileges the voices of those usually kept at the margins.

At once polyphonic and precise, Rising is a shimmering meditation on vulnerability and on vulnerable communities, both human and more than human, and on how to let go of the places we love.


Elizabeth Rush is the author of Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore and Still Lifes from a Vanishing City: Essays and Photographs from Yangon, Myanmar. Her work explores how humans adapt to changes enacted upon them by forces seemingly beyond their control, from ecological transformation to political revolution. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in HarpersGuernicaGrantaOrionCreative Nonfiction, The Washington Post, Le Monde Diplomatique and the New Republic, among others. She teaches creative nonfiction courses at Brown University that carry the environmental sciences and digital technologies into the humanities classroom. Recently her students interviewed fishermen in the Narragansett Bay whose lives and livelihoods are being transformed by changes in the environment.


Daniel Denvir is a fellow at Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project, author of the forthcoming book Amnesty Now, and host of "The Dig," a podcast from Jacobin magazine. His journalistic work covers criminal justice, the drug war, immigration, and politics, and has appeared in the New York Times, Jacobin, Vox, Nation, Guardian, and elsewhere.

Earlier Event: June 2
Art Book Sale
Later Event: June 13
Fiction Book Club