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Jeff GoodellJeff

Nonfiction writer


Jennifer HaighJennifer


NYS Writers Institute, November 10, 2016
7:00 p.m. Reading/Discussion | University Art Museum, Uptown Campus

Jeff Goodell, journalist and nonfiction writer, and novelist Jennifer Haigh, whose latest books address current environmental issues, will read from and discuss their work at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 10, in the Art Museum, Fine Arts Building, on UAlbany’s Uptown Campus. Free and open to the public, the event is sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute in conjunction with the UAlbany Art Museum’s exhibition FUTURE PERFECT: PICTURING THE ANTHROPOCENE (on display through December 10. 2016).

How to Cool the PlanetPROFILE
Jeff Goodell
received the 2012 David R. Brower Award from the Sierra Club for excellence in environmental journalism.  His latest book How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth’s Climate, published in 2010, has recently been released in paperback. James Lovelock, author of Gaia and The Vanishing Face of Gaia remarked that How to Cool the Planet “could be the most important book written about climate.”  The bookdelves into the scientific, political, financial, and moral aspects of using unproven and extreme geoengineering technologies to address the complex issues of climate change.  A broadcast of NPR’s FRESH AIR credits Goodell for explaining “that there are certainly some good reasons to be reluctant to tinker with the Earth’s climate — but there are also some very good reasons to take the idea seriously.” 

Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe, described How to Cool the Planet as “thoughtful, informative, and darkly entertaining. It’s the best treatment of this important (and scary) topic you can find.”  Publishers Weekly praised Goodell’s insights adding “in a genre dominated by doomsday scenarios, Goodell’s treatment is refreshingly lighthearted—and his provocative account achieves a fine balance between the inventor’s enthusiasm and the scientist’s skepticism.”

Heat and LightIn her new novel, Heat and Light (2016), Jennifer Haigh explores the allure of fracking for residents of a ravaged coal mining town.  According to The Washington Post, Heat and Light is “the best fracking novel ever….a tour-de-force of multiple point-of-view narration.”  Joshua Ferris, author of Then We Came to the End, says that Haigh “takes aim at power and greed, plunder and the profit motive, the rapacity inherent in the American Dream and the complicity of its victims.”  Novelist Richard Ford said “Heat and Light achieves pure novelistic virtuosity. It’s brilliant beginning to end.” 

Goodell is the author of two previous books that address issues of energy and climate change.  His 2006 book Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America’s Energy Future exposes the fact that, in Goodell’s own words, “our shiny white I-Pod economy is propped up by dirty black rocks.” The New York Times described the book as a “compelling indictment of one of the country’s biggest, most powerful land most antiquated industries … well-written, timely and powerful.” Goodell’s book Our Story: 77 Hours that Tested Our Friendship and Our Faith (2002) provides an intimate look at the human toll that coal mining can take as he recounts the ordeal of nine Pennsylvania coal miners who were trapped underground for more than three days. The Atlanta Journal Constitution said of Our Story that it “Isn’t the only new book about . . . nine men from a flooded Pennsylvania coal mine, but it’s the best.”

Haigh’s debut novel, Mrs. Kimble (2003), received the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for a distinguished first book of fiction.  Her other novels include Baker Towers (2005), the story of a family rooted in the coal country of western Pennsylvania, which the New York Times described as an “effortlessly haunting story” and praised Haigh as “an expert storyteller”; The Condition (2008), about a proper New England family and the secrets and self-delusions that impact their relationships; and Faith (2001), which explores the aftermath for the family of a Catholic priest who has been accused of sexual abuse. The Washington Post called Faith “both riveting and profound…An incredibly suspenseful novel.”

The reading by Goodell and Haigh is sponsored in conjunction with the UAlbany Art Museum’s exhibit Future Perfect: Picturing the Anthropocene. The exhibit features artwork that explores our conflicted relationship to the natural world and informs how we view the past, how we perceive the present, and how we imagine the future.

For additional information, visit the New York State Writers Institute on Facebook, online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst, or email [email protected], or call 518-442-5620.