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Writing in a Time of Ecological Unravelling | A Panel Discussion

March 28, 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Event Promotion

Innis College and the Writing and Rhetoric Program invite you to:

Writing in a Time of Ecological Unravelling

A Panel Discussion

  • March 28, 2017 | 7:00–8:30 pm, reception to follow
  • Innis Town Hall | 2 Sussex Ave., Toronto
  • FREE | Online registration required (see form below)
  • For more information contact

In his book The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (2016), novelist Amitav Ghosh examines why literary writers have been slow to respond to the global ecological issues we face. Why is there such a failure of imagination? Are we deranged?

It is clear that ecological crisis, being boundless, calls on writers of all stripes to play a crucial responding role. Writers draw attention to issues, speak truth to power, and offer public leadership through crafting language, stories, and ways of thinking.

In this panel, writers from across disciplines share their thoughts and experience concerning the writer’s role in a time of ecological unravelling, and reflect on what tools and inspiration writing can offer us.

Catherine Bush,
novelist; MFA Program, University of
Guelph (read more about Catherine)
Bonnie McElhinny, Department of Anthropology and Women and Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto (read more about Bonnie) Stephen Scharper, School of the Environment and Department the Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto (read more about Stephen)
Bush Headshot McElhinny Portrait Scharper Portrait

Moderated by Sharon English, Writing and Rhetoric Program, Innis College, University of Toronto.

Panelist Biographies

Click the names below to learn more about our panelists.

Catherine Bush

Bush HeadshotCatherine Bush is the author of four novels, including Accusation (2013), the Trillium Award shortlisted Claire’s Head (2004), and the national bestselling The Rules of Engagement (2000), also a New York Times Notable Book. She has spoken about fiction and climate change at the Climate Engineering Conference (2013) in Berlin and elsewhere. For the past eight years she has been the Coordinator of the University of Guelph’s Creative Writing MFA, based in Toronto.

Bonnie McElhinny

McElhinny PortraitBonnie McElhinny is an associate professor of anthropology and women and gender studies at the University of Toronto.  She teaches courses and does research on water, language, hope and social justice. Her book on Language, Colonialism and Capitalism (co-authored with Monica Heller) is forthcoming from University of Toronto Press.  Over the next two years she will be curating a series of conversations (the Great Lakes Waterworks) among and between faculty, students and staff at the University of Toronto and community partners, on healing and de-colonizing the Great Lakes.

Stephen Scharper

Scharper PortraitStephen Scharper is associate professor at the School of the Environment and the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. He is also cross-appointed in the department of anthropology at the University of Toronto Mississauga campus, and is associate faculty with the Toronto School of Theology.

His research and teaching are in the areas of environmental ethics, worldviews and ecology, liberation theology, as well as nature and the city. His most recent book, For Earth’s Sake: Toward a Compassionate Ecology (Novalis 2013), explores the notion of how we are being called to develop an affective relationship with the natural world in light of contemporary ecological challenges. Dr. Scharper currently serves as a columnist for The Toronto Star and has appeared as a commentator on numerous radio and television programs.


March 28, 2017
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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Innis Town Hall


Office of Advancement, Innis College
Writing & Rhetoric Program