I work in the area of sustainability and climate change, and the more you know the scarier it is. Like the sun, you can’t look too closely at it, but face to one side, you make your way, because in fact, it’s easy to put everything right. All the solutions are right here, they just have to catch on. Walking lightly and mindfully upon the earth is so doable. I started writing as therapy, with green solutions as the main ingredient, stories to soothe my soul. Then my characters and their stories took over centre stage, leaving the green solutions to season the stew.
I set up the series of free Green Stories writing competitions in 2018 to inspire writers to create positive visions of what a sustainable society might look like, to tell stories that showcase solutions, not just problems. In the process I continued to research what works in terms of fiction and climate communication and have enjoyed sharing my growing knowledge via workshops and talks. I’m proud to report I am on the Forbes list of Climate Leaders: https://www.forbes.com/sites/solitairetownsend/2023/03/19/68-climate-leaders-changing-the-film-and-tv-industry/
Habitat Man is my first novel. Habitat Man began as an effort to illustrate what a solution-based approach might look like, and then took on a life of its own. I’d delighted by the reviews and a comedy-drama audio adaptation of Habitat Man reached the final stage of the BBC Radio 4 Offers Round in autumn 2023. I always saw it as a TV series in my head, so hope to find a producer who will share my vision. I have several sequels in my head, so there’s plenty of material for many seasons. Once I’ve finished my current project, I hope to return to my characters and write these up.
I also enjoyed compiling an anthology of climate solutions wrapped in short stories called No More Fairy Tales: Stories to Save Our Planet. I enjoyed working with other climate authors and learned so much from the climate experts who helped us hone each story so it represented a truly effective solution. I truly believe if all these stories came true, we’d be in the clear. I wrote three stories for the anthology and co-wrote two more.
Last year I worked with Bafta, Albert and the Rubber republic on a project #ClimateCharacters, where we explored the relative carbon footprints of fictional characters, as a fun way to raise awareness of the impact of fictional characters.
Get a FREE teaser 4-story copy of the anthology: No More Fairy Tales: Stories to Save Our Planet here
Current projects include a stage play ‘Murder in the Citizens’ Jury‘; a literary fiction whodunit/philosophy textbook (yes I know) called ‘The Philosopher and the Assassin’, its sequel, with a working title of ‘The Retirement Project’ and a number of screenplays.
Thank you to all the wonderful people, projects and organisations that inspired these works of mostly fiction. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.
My day job is Professor of Sustainable Practice at the University of Southampton. You can find out about my academic publications, research and projects here. In addition to my academic publications, I wrote the script for a musical Fidel that was performed in London in 2016, and have written four other screenplays (Knickers, World Cup Wendy, The Assassin and Fidel Castro: My New Boyfriend).