Danielle Celermajer presents Summertime: Reflections on a Vanishing Future, in conversation with Melanie Challenger

September 26th
6:30 pm
McNally Jackson SoHo
RSVP Required — see below

A different kind of nature writing, for a different kind of landscape.

I went and sat alone where Jimmy has been lying. It is way down in the bush. The light is soft, the air and the earth are cool, and the smell is of leaves and the river. I cannot presume to know what he is doing when he lies here, but it seems that he is taking himself back to an ecology not wrought by the terror of the fires, not fuelled by our violence on the earth. He is letting another earth heal him.

Philosopher Danielle Celermajer’ s story of Jimmy the pig caught the world’ s attention during the Black Summer of 2019­ ­ -20. Gathered here is that story and others written in the shadow of the bushfires that ravaged Australia. In the midst of the death and grief of animals, humans, trees and ecologies Celermajer asks us to look around – really look around – to become present to all beings who are living and dying through the loss of our shared home. At once a howl in the forest and an elegy for a country’ s soul, these meditations are lyrical, tender and profound.

"Celermajer’s imagery is poetic yet economical. She allows the reader to recognise the urgency of the climate disaster without feeling overwhelmed … The phrase “essential reading” is a commonplace, but Summertime is just that – an awakening." –Alice Bishop, Australian Book Review

"A poetic cadence complements the elegiac tone, as complex ideas – such as the degree to which ethical humans should accept responsibility for the harm caused to other species by climate change – are expressed with a calm and clear voice… This book, in my opinion, is timely, valuable, and beautiful." –Ian McFarlane, Canberra Times

Professor Danielle Celermajer is Deputy Director of the Sydney Environment Institute at the University of Sydney, and leads the Multispecies Justice project. Through the experience of living through the black summer bushfires with a multispecies community, she began writing about a new crime of our age, Omnicide and subsequently Summertime (Penguin Random House Australia, 2021).


Melanie Challenger is an award-winning writer on the relationship of humans to the rest of the living world. She is the author of On Extinction: How We Became Estranged from Nature (Granta, 2011) and How to Be Animal: What it Means to Be Human (Viking Penguin, 2021), and editor of the forthcoming Animal Dignity: Philosophical Reflections on Non-Human Existence (Bloomsbury, 2023). She is the current Deputy Chair of the Nuffield Council and a Vice President of the RSPCA.


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