UK’s Top Writers speak truth to power to highlight the Ecological and Climate Emergency
October 01, 2019 by Extinction Rebellion
‘We really don’t have time to fanny around any more. We all need to get with the project and the project is Extinction Rebellion.’ – Irvine Welsh
- Writers join Extinction Rebellion’s call for the government to tell the truth about the climate and ecological emergency
- ‘Writers Rebel’ will hold a marathon reading in Trafalgar Square during Extinction Rebellion’s International Rebellion on 11 October at 5pm
- Novelists, playwrights, poets and creative non-fiction writers will be joining the protest; they include Simon Schama, Ali Smith, Naomi Alderman, Helen Simpson, Susie Orbach, AL Kennedy, Paul Farley, Daljit Nagra
Forty top UK writers – under the name ‘Writers Rebel’ – are uniting with Extinction Rebellion on 11th October in a unique literary event to demand radical action on the accelerating climate and ecological crisis as part of Extinction Rebellion’s International Rebellion. The event will take the form of a marathon reading in Trafalgar Square at 5pm until 9pm. In the spirit of a people’s movement, published writers will each read for no more than 5 minutes to support the rebellion.
Novelists, playwrights, poets and creative non-fiction writers including Simon Schama, Ali Smith, Naomi Alderman, Helen Simpson, Susie Orbach, AL Kennedy, Paul Farley, Daljit Nagra and Robert McFarlane will take to the stage to celebrate the natural world and draw attention to how climate breakdown is re-shaping humankind’s existence on the planet.
A podcast to mark the event will include interviews with Jonathan Franzen and Margaret Atwood and will be released in the week before the event. 
TS Eliot poetry prize winner David Harsent said: “The planet and all life on it is at risk. I am appearing at this Extinction Rebellion event for my children and my grandchildren – in fact, for all children and grandchildren, not least those of the climate crisis deniers.”
Novelist Liz Jensen from Writers Rebel said: “We’re delighted but not surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response. Writers have always played a vital role in times of change. At this critical point in the history of the planet, the truth needs telling in ways that spur people not just to listen, but to act.”
Screenwriter and Extinction Rebellion activist, Jessica Townsend, said, “It’s time to take an imaginative leap forward. We’re living in a new fragile world which demands new stories. It’s time to wake up.”
“I grew up in Mexico City, once identified by the United Nations as the most polluted city on Earth,” said Mexican novelist Chloe Aridjis. “Birds dropped dead from the sky and school classes were cancelled for an entire month. Now, the battle has become global. Every national disaster speaks to others. We can no longer ignore the fact that the natural world can survive without humans, but there is no way we will survive without the natural world.”
For updates on the event follow #WritersRebel on Facebook and @XrWritersRebel on Twitter.
Note to editors
- The list of writers so far confirmed are:
M John Harrison
Writers Rebel organising team
*Available for interview
About Extinction Rebellion:
Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken.
Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.
Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:
- Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
- Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
- Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
Extinction Rebellion International Rebellion
Activists will be taking to the streets in over 60 countries from 7th October 2019 to demand governments tell the truth and act urgently on Climate change. Many ordinary people from all walks of life will join the cause. This follows record numbers on the streets across the world the Strike for Climate last week.
- In the UK, come to one of our events, join the Rebellion Network and let us know how you can help out.
- Start a group where you are: in the UK or around the world.
- Find your local group.
- Check out the International XR website, with links to the French, German, Italian and UK websites.
- And while your time and energy are of most importance, if you are financially able to donate money, see our crowdfunder.
About Rising Up!
Extinction Rebellion is an initiative of the Rising Up! network, which promotes a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which maximises well-being and minimises harm. Change needs to be nurtured in a culture of reverence, gratitude and inclusion while the tools of civil disobedience and direct action are used to express our collective power.