Nine strangers and a natural catastrophe ᛫ Richard Powers

Leena Norms talks to Richard Powers - author of twelve novels who lives in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and is author of the Pulitzer Prize winning literary novel, The Overstory.


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He has recently been awarded the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his latest book, The Overstory. It's the story of an artist who inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, and a winding collection of strangers, each summoned in different ways by the natural world, who are brought together in a last stand to save it from catastrophe.

We sat down with Richard to talk about our ancient connection to trees, the importance of 'long books' and why falling in love with nature will make reluctant activists of us all. 




WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION 2019

SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2018

A wonderous, exhilarating novel about nine strangers brought together by unfolding natural catastrophe as climate change becomes an ever-growing concern.

‘The best novel ever written about trees, and really, just one of the best novels, period’ Ann Patchett

‘Breathtaking’ Barbara Kingsolver, New York Times

An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies, and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light. A hearing- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another. An Air Force crewmember in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan.

This is the story of these and five other strangers, each summoned in different ways by the natural world, who are brought together in a last stand to save it from catastrophe.

‘It’s not possible for Powers to write an uninteresting book’

Margaret Atwood

‘Dazzlingly written’ 

Robert Macfarlane

‘It’s a masterpiece’ 

Tim Winton

‘An astonishing performance’

Benjamin Markovits, Guardian


pulitzer prize winning books 2019 man booker shortlist 2018 climate change tree woods wood woodland forest historical american literary metaphysical visionary myths folklore international nature trees ecology fiction twentieth century environment book robert macfarlane underland old ways lost words anything is possible my name is lucy bartlett elizabeth strout milkman anna burns esi edugyan washington black in our mad and furious city guy gunaratne daisy johnson everything under rachel kushner mars room sophie mackintosh water cure michael ondaatje warlight robin robertson long take sally rooney normal people from a low and quiet sea donal ryan paul auster ian mcewan sebastian faulks julian barnes hidden life of trees peter wohlleben ministry of utmost happiness arundhati roy orfeo the time of our singing the echo maker gain generosity the gold bug variations

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