Monday, October 25, 6pm CT
Private Online Event - Book Purchase Required
from Left Bank Books for admission.
About Orwell's Roses
A lush exploration of roses, pleasure, and politics, and a fresh take on George Orwell as an avid gardener whose political writing was grounded in his passion for the natural world
"In the year 1936 a writer planted roses." So begins Rebecca Solnit's new book, a reflection on George Orwell's passionate gardening and the way that his involvement with plants, particularly flowers, and the natural world illuminates his other commitments as a writer and antifascist, and the intertwined politics of nature and power.
Sparked by her unexpected encounter with the surviving roses he planted in 1936, Solnit's account of this understudied aspect of Orwell's life explores his writing and his actions--from going deep into the coal mines of England, fighting in the Spanish Civil War, critiquing Stalin when much of the international left still supported him (and then critiquing that left), to his analysis of the relationship between lies and authoritarianism. Through Solnit's celebrated ability to draw unexpected connections, readers encounter the photographer Tina Modotti's roses and her Stalinism, Stalin's obsession with forcing lemons to grow in impossibly cold conditions, Orwell's slave-owning ancestors in Jamaica, Jamaica Kincaid's critique of colonialism and imperialism in the flower garden, and the brutal rose industry in Colombia that supplies the American market. The book draws to a close with a rereading of Nineteen Eighty-Four that completes her portrait of a more hopeful Orwell, as well as a reflection on pleasure, beauty, and joy as acts of resistance.
"I loved this book, and so will many. . . [Orwell] is re-envisioned as a joyous, hopeful, life-loving, toad-appreciating, baby-cherishing dad, but especially as an avid and energetic gardener . . . an exhilarating romp through Orwell's life and times and also through the life and times of roses." --Margaret Atwood
"A kaleidoscopic view of a man we thought we knew, by a woman who keeps surprising us with her dazzling mind. Solnit has written an exquisitely layered book soaring in its reach, subversive in its scope, and joyous in its pleasure to read. Her exploration into how and why cultivating beauty matters, alongside fighting injustices as Orwell's garden supported his fierce critique of fascism, reminds us of the singular fact: life is both flower and thorn. This profound and graceful book not only redefines what is 'Orwellian, ' it reimagines how we might live a life of greater intention by opening our hearts to what is beautiful, brave, and of Earth." --Terry Tempest Williams, author of Erosion
"Solnit shows that Orwell's politics were grounded in a vision of the good life that he conducted with gusto through some of the worst decades of the twentieth century. This was partly his nature and partly his political project; along with his famous lessons about the misuse of political language and power, he wanted people to understand that the life of a democratic socialist could and should include joy, as an already existing example of what might happen if we made a better world. A beautiful and important book." -- Kim Stanley Robinson, author of The Ministry for the Future
About our Speakers
Rebecca Solnit is the author of more than twenty books, including Recollections of My Nonexistence, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, The Faraway Nearby, A Paradise Built in Hell, River of Shadows, and Wanderlust. She is also the author of Men Explain Things to Me and many essays on feminism, activism and social change, hope, and the climate crisis. A product of the California public education system from kindergarten to graduate school, she is a regular contributor to The Guardian and other publications.
adrienne maree brown is the writer-in-residence at the Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute, and author of Grievers (the first novella in a trilogy on the Black Dawn imprint), Holding Change: The Way of Emergent Strategy Facilitation and Mediation, We Will Not Cancel Us and Other Dreams of Transformative Justice, Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds and the co-editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements and How to Get Stupid White Men Out of Office. She is the cohost of the How to Survive the End of the World, Octavia’s Parables and Emergent Strategy podcasts. adrienne is rooted in Detroit.
You may purchase a copy of Orwell's Roses from Left Bank Books online or by phone. You must provide an email address to be invited to the private online event. If you have purchased the book from Left Bank, you will receive an email event reminder a few days prior to the event. You will receive the email with the link to join the private online event the DAY OF the event.