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When I Dare To Be Powerful: In conversation with Jeff VanderMeer

Join Jeff VanderMeer in conversation with Trang Dang, as part of the When I Dare to be Powerful conference at Bonington Gallery.

Trang Dang and science fiction author Jeff VanderMeer will explore and discuss nonhuman voices, resistance, and activism in an age of anthropogenic climate change and the power of storytelling in accentuating these voices.

This event is part of online talks series leading to the in-person conference When I Dare to be Powerful, on 21 June at Bonington Gallery. The international conference will bring filmmakers, artists, writers and activists, together with conceptual thinkers and cultural theorists in order to answer pressing questions relating to voice as an agent of change.

Image credit: Kyle Cassidy


Jeff VanderMeer has been profiled by the New York Times, Audubon Magazine, and the Guardian, in large part for his environmentalism and his exploration of the nonhuman world in his fiction. His NYT-bestselling Southern Reach trilogy has been translated into over 35 languages. The first novel, Annihilation, won the Nebula Award and Shirley Jackson Award, and was made into a film by Paramount in 2018. Other works include Dead Astronauts, Borne (a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award), and The Strange Bird. These novels, set in the Borne universe, are being developed for TV by AMC. His most recent novel, Hummingbird Salamander (MCD/FSG), a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award, interrogates the foundations of our modern world in an environmental context. Called “the weird Thoreau” by The New Yorker, VanderMeer frequently speaks about issues related to climate change and storytelling. His nonfiction about wildlife and nature has appeared in Orion Magazine, Esquire, and the Los Angeles Times, amongst others. In January of 2023, VanderMeer founded the Sunshine State Biodiversity Group, a non-profit devoted to rewilding, biodiversity education, and environmental journalism. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife Ann, cat Neo, and a yard full of native plants.

Trang Dang (she/her) is a PhD researcher in literary studies at Nottingham Trent University, funded by NTU Studentship Scheme, and previously graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a BA and an MA in English Literature. Her PhD project focuses on Jeff VanderMeer’s weird fiction, exploring narratives of co-existence between humans and nonhumans and the role of new weird novels in portraying the current climate crisis. Her main research interests are contemporary literature, cli/sci-fi, critical theory, and continental philosophy. She has published on the topics of animal studies, American culture and politics, and the Anthropocene.