Chairperson: Myles Dungan
In a special event, put together exclusively for Dublin Writers Festival, Booker-winning novelist Ian McEwan and self-styled 'eco-pragmatist' Stewart Brand examine how art and science can and should engage with our growing concerns about the earth's future.
Ian McEwan – multi-award-winning author of Atonement, On Chesil Beach and Saturday – turns his focus to cutting-edge physics and climate change in his latest novel Solar. In 2005, McEwan joined a team of artists and scientists in the Arctic Circle to witness global warming first-hand. Two years later he was invited to address a symposium of Nobel laureates on the same issue. Solar is the culmination of these experiences – a darkly satirical tale of a Nobel prize-winning physicist whose last chance to reinvigorate his career might also just save the planet.
A key influence on McEwan’s own environmental position is Stewart Brand. Brand’s counter-culture credentials are impressive: he studied ecology with Paul Ehrlich, ‘turned on’ and ‘dropped out’ with Ken Kesey and founded the era-defining Whole Earth Catalogue. Yet, like fellow eco-pioneer James Lovelock, his 21st-century stance is a world away from 'old school' green thinking. For Brand, ideology is no longer enough. His latest book – Whole Earth Discipline – is a forceful argument for science-led pragmatism (embracing urbanisation, nuclear power and biotechnology) as the only viable solution to our global crisis.
Join McEwan and Brand for some coolheaded thinking on the hot topic of our age.