Talking about A River Runs Again on Berkeley’s KPFA. Listen here: Uprising with Sonali
I’ve landed on the West Coast just as my interview with Eric Alan of KLCC‘s gone live. Have a listen. Or better yet, if you’re nearby, come say hello as I do two events in that southern stretch of the Willamette Valley that I once called home.
I’ll be speaking at University of Oregon tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 (Straub Hall, Room 145. 1451 Onyx Street, Eugene, OR), in an event hosted by the Department of Geography, Barbara & Carlisle Moore Professor of English Fund, School of Journalism & Communications, Hearst Foundation Visiting Professionals Endowment Fund, Department of Sociology, Robert D. Clark Honors College, and the University of Oregon Bookstore. Details here.
And on Sunday, I’ll be down in my old stomping grounds of Cottage Grove, speaking at the Axe and Fiddle (657 E Main St, Cottage Grove, OR) at 7:00 pm. Details here.
More events coming up in Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and Miami. Then…India! Full schedule here.
It was a pleasure to speak with Helen Palmer of PRI’s show Living on Earth about A River Runs Again, exploring questions about organic agriculture’s ability to feed humanity, how to handle ambivalent respect for well-intentioned nonprofits, and vulture survival. Here’s the intro…
Investigative journalist Meera Subramanian crisscrossed India examining its environmental problems and searching for homegrown solutions described in her new book A River Runs Again. She tells Living on Earth’s Helen Palmer that everywhere she looked, she found serious concerns, but also hope for a better future.
It was with great delight that I entered into the studios of WNYC on Varick Street to sit down and talk with Arun Venugopal, who was guest hosting the Leonard Lopate Show. We talked about the costs of the Green Revolution, of Hindu priests who asked, “What is your duty?” to a farming family considering going organic, of holy waters. Our conversation ended too quickly, and I didn’t quite get to elaborate on my answer to his last question, about the direction PM Modi is taking the country. I said Modi has a choice. What I felt like I didn’t make clear enough is that he can develop India at the expense of the environment, the direction he seems to be heading now, or choose to tap into the exploding number of opportunities to develop in a more sustainable way, providing a model for the world. I’m rooting for the latter, and met the people in India who hope so too.
Falmouth Public Library is a stately building on sweet little Main Street in Falmouth, the corner of the Cape near Woods Hole, littered with PhDs and farmer’s markets and ferries bound for the islands. There was a nice turnout, and it was great to meet my doppleganger, a woman whose mother had come from India around the same time as mine and also married a fair-skinned American. Good conversations, during the Q&A, and after. A Punjabi man arrived late, straight from his English classes, and he told me about how he once worked for the water department there. “There is no good water in Punjab,” he said to me, shaking his head. “No good water.”
Typewriters, music, teen tent, children’s stage, guerilla haiku, sunny skies, throngs of people (80,000 I heard), authors from every genre, and the occasional raptor overhead. It was a fine weekend for the Decatur Book Festival, celebrating its tenth year. It was great to sit down with Anna Badkhen, author of Walking with Abel: Journeys with the Nomads of the African Savannah, in a conversation led by writer Anjali Enjeti in the plush red-carpeted Decatur First United Methodist Chapel. We discussed being an outsider, the uniquely American phenomenon of climate change denial, how much we trust digital equipment, whether to step into our stories (or, rather, admit to doing so), and, of course, vultures.
Lots of book tour events are lining up. Check the calendar here for all updates & details.
- Wed., Sept. 2 (7:00 pm): Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA
- Thurs., Sept. 3: WCAI The Point with Mindy Todd (Cape Cod NPR)
- Sat., Sept. 5 (11:15 am): AJC Decatur Book Festival, Atlanta GA
- Wed., Sept. 9 (7:00 pm): Falmouth Public Library, Falmouth, MA
- Thurs., Sept. 24 (7:30 pm): Wellfleet Preservation Hall, Wellfleet, Cape Cod, MA
- Wed., Sept 30 (12:30 pm): UVA Medical Center Hour, Charlottesville, VA
- Tues., Oct. 13 (3:00 pm): Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington DC
- Thurs., Oct. 15 (6:00 pm): NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, NYC, NY
- Sat., Oct. 17: Texas Book Festival, Austin, TX (details TBD)
- Oct. 23 – 25: Indo-American Arts Council Literary Festival, Hunter College, New York, NY (details TBD)
- Sun., Nov. 1: The Axe & Fiddle, Cottage Grove, OR
- Mon., Nov. 2 (7:30 pm): Powell’s on Hawthorne, Portland, OR
- Tues., Nov. 3 (7:00 pm): Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA
- Thurs., Nov. 5 (7:00 pm): San Francisco World Affairs Council, San Francisco, CA
- Tues., Nov. 17 (6:30 pm): Sturgis Library, Barnstable, Cape Cod, MA
- Sat., Nov. 21: Miami Book Fair International, Miami, FL (details TBD)
Hope to see you. If not, there’s always this. 🙂
A few weeks ago, the Christian Science Monitor included A River Runs Again in its list of the Ten Best Books of August. Just today, they’ve published a lovely review of it by Peter Lewis. A close reader, he writes with eloquence and wonderful turns-of-phrase, comparing India to a Rube Goldberg contraption that’s been thrown out of whack by environmental upheaval. He writes:
Meera Subramanian’s A River Runs Again tells five tales of India at the crossroads – a filigree of cautionary and celebratory stories – voiced with dignified passion….
Subramanian navigates these rough waters between baneful emergencies and precarious signs of enlightened attitudes with the right degree of cautious optimism.
It’s official. A River Runs Again is now available in bookstores across the US. (Of course, Amazon has been sending it out for weeks.) To find out which independent bookseller near you will be stocking it, check here, or call up your local library and encourage them to purchase a copy for their collection. Then you, too, can look like this man:
It will be coming out in India, as Elemental India: The Natural World at a Time of Crisis and Opportunity, soon!