Title: Letters to the Earth: Writing to a Planet in Crisis

Author: Anna Hope, Emma Thompson (introduction) and many people who feature with a poem or letter.

Publishers: William Collins

Format: Hardback

Pages: 255

Genres: Poetry, Environmentalism, Activism

Rating: 3/5


Release Date: November 14th 2019

Where To Buy: Amazon UK, Amazon USA, Wordery, Book Depository

Summary: The largest creative response to the climate and ecological emergency the world has yet seen.

2019 was the year of rebellion.

It was the year nurses, poets, nine-year-olds and grandparents came together to say: we know the truth about climate change – now it is time to act.

But what words describe this crisis? What words can help our children come to terms with the future they will inherit?

Earlier this year, Culture Declares Emergency invited people from all around the world to find those words by writing a letter to the earth. The invitation was open to all – to think beyond the human narrative and bear witness to the scale of the crisis. Letters of love, loss, hope and action were written by over 1000 people.

Now published as a collection, Letters to the Earth brings together the voices of children and the public with authors, scientists and playwrights in the first creative project of its kind.

Alongside letters from the public, Letters to the Earth received submissions from artist and peace activist Yoko Ono, actor Mark Rylance, writer and illustrator of The Lost Words Jackie Morris, novelist Anna Hope, environmental writer Jay Griffiths and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas . Together they are an invitation to consider how this existential threat affects the way we live our lives and the action we take.

Lots of books consider the climate and ecological crisis from a political or scientific perspective, but Letters to the Earth is the first book to chronicle how humankind is collectively processing planetary crisis

(This book was sent to me by my grandad as it is my Aunt Anna’s book, this doesn’t impact my opinion in anyway whilst reviewing this book.)

Review: This is really not the type of book I would usually pick up or read for myself, in fact if it hadn’t been sent to me I wouldn’t have read it. I’m not the target or demographic for this book as the topic is of no interest to me personally. However I received it and was interested in it as I do love poetry so I thought I might still enjoy reading it.

This book certainly demonstrated people’s passion and aggression, their love and devotion for fighting the battle of climate change and for saving the earth. Some of the letters were very assertive whereas others were simple.

I found myself struggling at times as some of the letters were long and made no sense to me, I found myself confused by what they were trying to get at, but I persevered and continued. I loved reading the poetry ones and found them so beautifully written. I also thought it was sweet reading what the children had sent in, they were sweet and often more impactful than the long pushy letters. Children have a way about them when writing that can showcase what they are trying to say in a shorter and more powerful way. Those were certainly ones that I enjoyed more.

Overall this was an interesting book, certainly not one I would read again most likely but I’m glad I did take my time to read it. To some this book will mean so much to them and will help them and guide them where they want to be.

From what it says in the introduction there are still many letters and poems that had been sent in, I think in future they should publish more, they still have more voices yet to be shared and I think this book is a great way to get out and reach an audience that aren’t always hearing everything, so spreading more voices will equal more awareness. But that’s my opinion based off of reading this one.

About Author: In February 2019 four women came together and dreamt of an opportunity for people to express themselves in response to this crisis. What was born was Letters To The Earth, a campaign which invites people to write a letter to or from the Earth, future or past generations, those who hold positions of power and influence, other species. The idea was open to interpretation: it could come from a personal place, be dramatic in form, be a call to action. The invitation was open to all – to think beyond the human narrative and to bear witness to the scale and horror of this crisis. The campaign is ongoing, with people all around the world still writing and presenting their Letters. The Letters To The Earth co-curating team are novelist Anna Hope, director Jo McIness and theatre-maker Kay Michael.

Anna Hope is an English writer and actress from Manchester. She is perhaps best known for her Doctor Who role of Novice Hame. She was educated at Wadham College, Oxford, The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London, and Birkbeck College, London.

Anna’s powerful first novel, WAKE, sold to Transworld Publishers in a seven-way auction. Set over the course of five days in 1920, WAKE weaves the stories of three women around the journey of the Unknown Soldier, from its excavation in Northern France to Armistice Day at Westminster Abbey. US rights were pre-empted by Susan Kamil at Random House. The book will be published in Doubleday hardback in early 2014.


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