Writing to Save the World at Virginia Festival of the Book

From the Southern Environmental Law Center:

SELC Hosts Award-Winning Writer, Jan DeBlieu, at Virginia Festival of the Book Readings, Discussion on Writing as Form of Citizen Activism

Charlottesville, VA — February 16, 2009 — The Southern Environmental Law Center, an environmental advocacy organization, is pleased to host award-winning southern writer Jan DeBlieu at the upcoming Virginia Festival of the Book in March.

In a discussion entitled “Writing to Save the World,” DeBlieu (author of Wind, Year of the Comets: A Journey from Sadness to the Stars) will read excerpts from her writing and discuss environmental writing as a form of citizen activism and its role in protecting the Souths most special and endangered natural landscapes.

Every choice we make, every day, has bearing on the natural world, DeBlieu says. How can we live artfully, consciously? We dont have to live like paupers. But we should at least develop an awareness that our actions affect the rest of the world. Literatures role is to help people understand whats at stakeand to challenge societys most deeply held beliefs.

The event will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 21, at SELCs regional headquarters on Charlottesvilles Downtown Pedestrian Mall (across from the Regal Cinema). The event is open and free to the public. A book-signing will follow.

DeBlieu is the author of four books and dozens of articles and essays about people and nature, including, Wind, which won the John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Natural History Writing, the highest national award given for a volume of nature writing, and Year of the Comets: A Journey from Sadness to the Stars, which received national acclaim and was excerpted in The Washington Post.

DeBlieu began her writing career as a newspaper reporter, working first for The News Journal papers in her home town of Wilmington, Delaware, and the Eugene, Oregon-based Register-Guard. While there, she developed a keen interest in peoples ties to their natural surroundings. After living and writing for brief periods in Boston and Atlanta, she moved to the North Carolina Outer Banks and, she says, found home.

A long-time activist, DeBlieu was named the Cape Hatteras Coastkeeper in 2003 for the North Carolina Coastal Federation, a grassroots environmental group that works to protect coastal waters from pollution. In the late 1980s she helped form a group that successfully kept oil companies from drilling off the Outer Banks.

DeBlieu also serves as a judge for SELCs annual Reed Environmental Writing Award. The two recipients of the 2009 Journalism and Book awards have been invited to attend and read brief excerpts from their winning entries. In addition to readings and a discussion from DeBlieu, the recipient of the annual Reed award will be announced and receive his or her award.

The Phillip D. Reed Memorial Award for Outstanding Writing on the Southern Environment named for a founding board member of SELC – enhances public awareness of the value and vulnerability of the region’s natural environment by giving special recognition to writers who most effectively tell the stories about the South’s special places and landscapes.

About the Southern Environmental Law Center SELC is a nonprofit, and the largest environmental advocacy organization protecting the environment and health in the Southeast. Since 1986, SELC has informed, implemented and enforced environmental law and policy concerning clean air and water, mountain forests, the coast and wetlands, and rural lands and livable communities. SELC has 63 staff members and offices in Charlottesville, Virginia; Chapel Hill and Asheville, North Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina; Washington, DC; and Atlanta. Visit SELC online at www.SouthernEnvironment.org.

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