Jeff VanderMeer

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Location: Eck Center Auditorium

Jeff VanderMeer is the 2016-2017 Trias Writer-in-Residence for Hobart-William Smith College. His most recent fiction is the NYT-bestselling Southern Reach trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance), which won the Shirley Jackson Award and Nebula Award. The trilogy made over 30 year’s best lists, including Entertainment Weekly’s top 10, and prompted the New Yorker to call the author “the weird Thoreau.” The trilogy has been acquired by publishers in 28 other countries, with Paramount Pictures acquiring the movie rights. VanderMeer’s nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Atlantic.com, and the Los Angeles Times. He has taught at the Yale Writers’ Conference and the Miami International Book Fair and lectured at MIT, Brown, and the Library of Congress. His forthcoming novel from Farrar, Straus and Giroux is titled Borne. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife, the noted editor Ann VanderMeer.

A three-time World Fantasy Award winner and 15-time nominee, VanderMeer  serves as the co-director of Shared Worlds, a unique teen SF/fantasy writing camp located at Wofford College and now entering its tenth year. Previous novels include the Ambergris Cycle, with nonfiction titles including Wonderbook, Booklife, and The Steampunk Bible. Widely regarded as one of the world’s best fantasists, Jeff VanderMeer grew up in the Fiji Islands and spent six months traveling through Asia, Africa, and Europe before returning to the United States. These travels have deeply influenced his fiction. He is the recipient of an NEA-funded Florida Individual Artist Fellowship for excellence in fiction and a Florida Artist Enhancement Grant.

His wife Ann VanderMeer was the fiction editor for Weird Tales for five years and won the Hugo for her work there. She now serves as an acquiring editor for Tor.com. She is also an award-winning publisher, and co-editor with Jeff on Best American Fantasy 1 and 2, Fast Ships, Black Sails (pirates), Steampunk 1 and 2, New Weird, The Weird, The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, The Time Traveler’s Almanac, and many more. Together, they have taught writing workshops and given lectures all over the world. This literary “power couple” (Boing Boing) has been profiled on Wired.com, NYT blog, and on national NPR.

Ann and Jeff live in Tallahassee, Florida, with two cats.

Reviews

“Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy was an ever-creeping map of the apocalypse; with Borne he continues his investigation into the malevolent grace of the world, and it's a thorough marvel.” —Colson Whitehead

“VanderMeer is that rare novelist who turns to nonhumans not to make them approximate us as much as possible but to make such approximation impossible. All of this is magnified a hundredfold in Borne . . . Here is the story about biotech that VanderMeer wants to tell, a vision of the nonhuman not as one fixed thing, one fixed destiny, but as either peaceful or catastrophic, by our side or out on a rampage as our behavior dictates--for these are our children, born of us and now to be borne in whatever shape or mess we have created. This coming-of-age story signals that eco-fiction has come of age as well: wilder, more reckless and more breathtaking than previously thought, a wager and a promise that what emerges from the twenty-first century will be as good as any from the twentieth, or the nineteenth.” —Wai Chee Dimock, The New York Times Book Review

“The conceptual elements in VanderMeer’s fiction are so striking that the firmness with which he cinches them to his characters’ lives is often overlooked . . . Borne is VanderMeer’s trans-species rumination on the theme of parenting . . . [Borne] insists that to live in an age of gods and sorcerers is to know that you, a mere person, might be crushed by indifferent forces at a moment’s notice, then quickly forgotten. And that the best thing about human nature might just be its unwillingness to surrender to the worst side of itself.” —Laura Miller, The New Yorker

Borne, the latest novel from New Weird author Jeff VanderMeer, is a story of loving self-sacrifice, hallucinatory beauty, and poisonous trust . . . Heady delights only add to the engrossing richness of Borne. The main attraction is a tale of mothers and monsters--and of how we make each other with our love.” —Nisi Shawl, The Washington Post

Borne, Jeff VanderMeer's lyrical and harrowing new novel, may be the most beautifully written, and believable, post-apocalyptic tale in recent memory . . . [VanderMeer] outdoes himself in this visionary novel shimmering with as much inventiveness and deliriously unlikely, post-human optimism as Borne himself.” —Elizabeth Hand, Los Angeles Times

Borne, the latest from sci-fi savant Jeff VanderMeer, begins innocently enough: Girl meets strange plantlike creature. But if you haven’t read his haunting Southern Reach trilogy, prepare yourself--this is Walden gone horribly wrong.” —Esquire

“VanderMeer's apocalyptic vision, with its mix of absurdity, horror, and grace, can't be mistaken for that of anyone else. Inventive, engrossing, and heartbreaking, Borne finds [VanderMeer] at a high point of creative accomplishment.” —Michael Berry, San Francisco Chronicle

“Beautiful . . . VanderMeer's fiction is not preachy by any means. Rather, it probes the mysterious of different lifeforms and highlights our human ignorance at the life around us.” —Lincoln Michel, Vice

“VanderMeer’s follow-up to his acclaimed Southern Reach trilogy is fantastical and strange, but with a sincere heart beating at its core.” —Jaime Green, Google Play

Borne maintains a wry self-awareness that's rare in dystopias, making it the most necessary VanderMeer book yet.” —Charley Locke, characters’ lives is often overlooked . . . Borne is VanderMeer’s trans-species rumination on the theme of parenting . . . [Borne] insists that to live in an age of gods and sorcerers is to know that you, a mere person, might be crushed by indifferent forces at a moment’s notice, then quickly forgotten. And that the best thing about human nature might just be its unwillingness to surrender to the worst side of itself. —Laura Miller, The New Yorker

Borne, the latest novel from New Weird author Jeff VanderMeer, is a story of loving self-sacrifice, hallucinatory beauty, and poisonous trust . . . Heady delights only add to the engrossing richness of Borne. The main attraction is a tale of mothers and monsters--and of how we make each other with our love.” —Nisi Shawl, The Washington Post

Borne, Jeff VanderMeer’s lyrical and harrowing new novel, may be the most beautifully written, and believable, post-apocalyptic tale in recent memory . . . [VanderMeer] outdoes himself in this visionary novel shimmering with as much inventiveness and deliriously unlikely, post-human optimism as Borne himself.”—Elizabeth Hand, Los Angeles Times

Borne, the latest from sci-fi savant Jeff VanderMeer, begins innocently enough: Girl meets strange plantlike creature. But if you haven't read his haunting Southern Reach trilogy, prepare yourself--this is Walden gone horribly wrong." —Esquire

“VanderMeer’s apocalyptic vision, with its mix of absurdity, horror, and grace, can't be mistaken for that of anyone else. Inventive, engrossing, and heartbreaking, Borne finds [VanderMeer] at a high point of creative accomplishment.”  —Michael Berry, San Francisco Chronicle

“Beautiful . . . VanderMeer’s fiction is not preachy by any means. Rather, it probes the mysterious of different lifeforms and highlights our human ignorance at the life around us.”  —Lincoln Michel, Vice

“VanderMeer’s follow-up to his acclaimed Southern Reach trilogy is fantastical and strange, but with a sincere heart beating at its core.”  —Jaime Green, Google Play

Borne maintains a wry self-awareness that's rare in dystopias, making it the most necessary VanderMeer book yet.”  —Charley Locke, Wired

“With Borne VanderMeer presents a parable about modern life, in these shaky days of roughshod industrialism, civilizational collapse, and looming planetary catastrophe . . . Think of Borne as a retelling of Steven Spielberg’s E.T, or the character arc of Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation. It’s the story of humanity making contact with something strange, alien, artificial, but yet possessed of a personality, a sense of humor, a drive to find love and friendship and community, to be a part of something—and to be respected—respected the way immigrants, refugees, the oppressed the world over have always wished to be respected.”  —Brian Ted Jones, The Rumpus

“A triumph of science fiction . . . Borne will dazzle you with its wonders and horrors, revealing itself as another piece of the puzzle, a reflection on the terror and beauty of being alive.”  —Matt E. Lewis, Electric Literature

“Just as VanderMeer subverted your expectations for each sequel to Annihilation, with Borne he’s written something completely different and unpredictable — not just in terms of the story, but also with regards to language, structure, and point of view.”  —Adam Morgan, Chicago Review of Books

“VanderMeer offers another conceptual cautionary tale of corporate greed, scientific hubris, and precarious survival . . . VanderMeer marries bildungsroman, domestic drama, love story, and survival thriller into one compelling, intelligent story centered not around the gee-whiz novelty of a flying bear but around complex, vulnerable characters struggling with what it means to be a person. VanderMeer‘s talent for immersive world-building and stunning imagery is on display in this weird, challenging, but always heartfelt novel.”  —Krista Hutley, Booklist (starred review)

“Supremely literary, distinctly unusual . . . VanderMeer’s deep talent for worldbuilding takes him into realms more reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy's The Road than of the Shire. Superb.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“VanderMeer, author of the acclaimed Southern Reach trilogy, has made a career out of eluding genre classifications, and with Borne he essentially invents a new one . . . Reading like a dispatch from a world lodged somewhere between science fiction, myth, and a video game, the textures of Borne shift as freely as those of the titular whatsit. What’s even more remarkable is the reservoirs of feeling that VanderMeer is able to tap into . . . resulting in something more than just weird fiction: weird literature.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The reading is free and open to the public.

Co-sponsored by: Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, College of Arts & Letters, English Department, Minor in Sustainability, and the William P. & Hazel B. White Endowed Chair, English

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