Rebecca Solnit: Orwell’s Roses
In the spring of 1936 George Orwell planted seven rose bushes in his garden in Hertfordshire, having purchased them at Woolworths for a sixpence each. More than eight decades later, inspired by his passion for gardening, Rebecca Solnit made a pilgrimage to find these roses and discovered a living thread connecting the past with today. Solnit, author of Hope in the Dark, Men Explain Things to Me and Recollections of My Nonexistence, joins us to discuss her vibrant meditation on Orwell’s legacy and how politics, pleasure and a love for the natural world must intertwine for us to find a path forward in hope and resistance.
Featuring a short film by G. Anthony Svatek, commissioned for the festival, with Tilda Swinton narrating “Some Thoughts on the Common Toad”
Writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit is the author of more than twenty books on feminism, western and urban history, popular power, social change and insurrection, wandering and walking, hope and catastrophe. Her books include Orwell’s Roses; Recollections of My Nonexistence; Hope in the Dark; Men Explain Things to Me; A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster; and A Field Guide to Getting Lost. A product of the California public education system from kindergarten to graduate school, she writes regularly for the Guardian, serves on the board of the climate group Oil Change International, and recently launched the climate project Not Too Late (nottoolateclimate.com).
Parul Sehgal is a staff writer at The New Yorker. Previously, she was a book critic at the New York Times, where she also worked as a senior editor and columnist. She has won awards for her criticism from the New York Press Club, the National Book Critics Circle, and the Robert B. Silvers Foundation. She teaches in the graduate creative-writing program at New York University.
G. Anthony Svatek
G. Anthony Svatek is an experimental and documentary filmmaker and collagist. Having grown up at the foot of the Austrian Alps, he is deeply awed by the living world within our increasingly techno-urban lifestyles. Svatek has screened at New York Film Festival, IFF Rotterdam, Edinburgh IFF, DOCNYC, amongst others, and published in Harper’s Magazine and Le Cinéma Club. He’s recipient of the New Visions Golden Gate Award at San Francisco IFF. Svatek has staffed seasonally at the Flaherty International Film Seminar, The Climate Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History. Currently, he’s working on a feature project about 19th century naturalist Alexander von Humboldt and three US-places bearing his name.