Canadian Book Publisher Archives Climate Literature at Cli-Fi Books (clifibooks.com)
Promoting climate change novels became important to Mary because literature is unique in how it can reach people, and, according to Mary, climate change is probably the largest environmental crisis we face in our lifetimes. Audiences are entangled in various narratives about climate change in the news (and often are not sure what to believe). The term itself, "climate change," has saturated the media and become overused. But the actual concept of climate change is critically important and looming. Mary understood that fiction had the power to bring messages across effectively, which can inspire planet stewardship. The same is true for film, which also belongs in the climate fiction genre.
It wasn't until after she published her novel (Back to the Garden, pen Clara Hume) that Mary was contacted by Dan Bloom, who was promoting a term he had coined, "cli-fi", a play on sci-fi but meaning "climate fiction". Mary was thrilled to learn that climate fiction was being published, and when she looked more into it, she began to find bits and pieces of these titles in the media, but was dismayed that no one source on the internet listed these books. Even Wikipedia listed just a few titles. Mary took it upon herself to begin building the first book archive that promotes climate change novels. Being an Amazon Affiliate helped the process along since she could use short-code that would point to the most up-to-date pricing and book descriptions. The site also allows independent authors and publishers who do not distribute on Amazon to write in with their own descriptions, book covers, and ordering information. Readers wanting to find books at Cli-Fi Books can browse through an author or a book listing—or just use the Search bar—to find books. Featured books are showcased on a rotating slideshow. Mary is working on more search features.
Mary found that the cli-fi term was helpful in categorizing these books, but not all authors readily identify with the phrase, sometimes preferring to call their books eco-fiction, literary fiction, science fiction, or speculative fiction. For organizing these books in one place, however, cli-fi is simple and descriptive. The term cli-fi is also picking up momentum in popular media. The New York Times, NPR, TIME, and The Guardian are just a few examples of big media reporting this new genre.
Since the site was built in 2013, it has archived over 125 books, with many more on the horizon. Mary gets most of the books via reader submissions (a simple book submission form is at the site), but she is constantly scouring the web and news for new books. The site is more than just an archive, however. It includes articles, events, climate fiction quotes, author interviews, news links, a YA/teen section, and a blog that explores art, climate, literature, and film topics. There are some interactive features at the site too, such as a writing process tour, which several authors participated in a couple months ago. The site showcases books by well-known authors, such as Margaret Atwood, Nathaniel Rich, Barbara Kingsolver, and Paolo Bacigalupi. Even older books, such as those by J.G. Ballard are listed, though the trend nowadays is that authors are tackling issues related to anthropogenic climate change. Newer authors like Tony White, Mindy McGinnis, and John Atcheson also have some wonderful additions.
More is in store too, as Mary is widening her connections with authors and climate scientists and researchers. The site welcomes guest authors. Mary's contact is firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Mary Woodbury: Mary has been featured in VOYA Magazine (http://www.voyamagazine.com/