William Collins has acquired a collection of letters calling out the global climate crisis from contributors including Yoko Ono, Mark Rylance and Green MP Caroline Lucas.
Assistant commissioning editor at William Collins Grace Pengelly bought world rights to Letters to the Earth from Caroline Wood at Felicity Bryan Associates. Published in partnership with climate movement Culture Declares Emergency, the letters will be co-curated by novelist Anna Hope, and introduced by Emma Thompson. Publication will be this November.
Weaving the voices of children together with those of authors, scientists, nurses, and great-grandparents, contributors include Laline Paull, Richard Holloway, Daniela Torres Perez and Simon McBurney. The book will also include words and illustrations by CILIP Kate Greenaway prize-winner Jackie Morris.
Morris said: "Letters to the Earth is a collection of heart-songs to our planet. Written at a time when we have a choice to face the knowledge that humanity have, by their actions, done incredible damage to the ecosystem, and at a time when we have a last chance to make a change. They are not a call to arms, but a call to link arms and work together, using all of our imagination to find ways to cure, to heal both ourselves and the earth."
Earlier this year Culture Declares Emergency (the cultural arm of Extinction Rebellion) invited the British public to put pen to paper and write a letter to the Earth. Letters were written by over 1000 people and read at 52 venues worldwide and filmed by actors Andrew Scott and Alex Lawther in the run-up to the International Rebellion. They took centre stage at Oxford Circus during the Rebellion's ‘Day Of Love’ on 19th April, performed by youth strikers and actors including Thompson, Paapa Essiedu and Lee Ross.
Pengelly said: "These letters are in conversation, they talk to each other, plot rebellion and conspire about something called hope. They document the global, intergenerational conversation about the future of our earth that we are all a part of – between children and grandparents, politicians and activists, scientists and playwrights. Collectively, they dare us to imagine a new story, one that rethinks and reimagines how we do everything."
Hope added: "I can’t think of another volume that has such potential to move, challenge and console us in these times of crisis. The writing in Letters to the Earth - much of it from children - does not shy away from the terrifying scale of the threat we all face, and offers no easy answers, but there is wisdom in these words. These are dark times, but this collection is a small fierce light – that may just help us to find our way home."