A group of authors, led by author Lauren James, has launched a new organization designed to raise awareness of climate change. The Climate Fiction Writers League boasts more than 50 members, who “believe in the necessity of climate action, immediately and absolutely.”
When reached for comment, James says that she was moved to start the group as she worked on her upcoming novel, Green Rising (due out next September), and discovered that there was no comprehensive online resource for authors writing climate fiction.
She was inspired in part by another writer’s organization from 1908: the Women Writers Suffrage League, a UK-based organization that was designed to raise awareness of women’s suffrage, and which disbanded in 1918 after the UK granted women the right to vote.
“The comparison between the suffragettes and modern Extinction Rebellion activists is something I’d been thinking about a lot while writing my own climate fiction novel,” she explained, “Immediately, I wanted to join a similar movement for climate fiction writers – but I couldn’t find any when I googled it. In fact, I couldn’t really find any comprehensive resources about climate fiction at all. It seemed like something that would be really useful to a lot of people, so I decided to set one up.”
The group’s website boasts an impressive roster of authors whose works have included climate change: authors like Charlie Jane Anders, Cory Doctorow, Rebecca Roanhorse, Laura Lam, Chen Qiufan, and many others. The organization is currently taking applications from others (they’re only accepting novelists, poets, and playwrights at the moment)—and has set up a private Slack group to help authors exchange ideas or help with research. The group also hopes to work as an intermediary for organizations looking for authors interested in speaking about the topic.
Along with serving as a resource for promoting climate change fiction, James has set up a Substack newsletter, on which the group’s members will be contributing essays. “I’ve got the schedule filled for a full year of essays and interviews,” she says, “nearly every two weeks until next autumn we’re publishing an essay by a member, and an interview about a new release.” Already, they’ve released essays from Marcus Sedgwick, Clare Rees, Midge Raymond, and Lauren Teffeau, on topics about Antarctica, geoengineering, solarpunk design, and more.
James says that she’s looking forward to what’s to come, and that she hopes the group will be a go-to resource for anyone interested in finding authors and books who have been examining the issue. “Pre-COVID, I did about 60 school events a year, so I know first-hand how much good can come from starting conversations about topics like climate change in schools. It’s so difficult to find authors working on climate fiction, so the website should be a comprehensive database for that!”