Episode 117 - Rick Bass: Part 1 - For a Little While


'I am working on a new novel...and an op-ed for the Los Angeles paper about Trump and his reign of terror.' Here in one line is This Writing Life's lengthy podcast conversation with Rick Bass - novelist, award-winning short story writer, and environmental activist. In future episodes we discuss For a Little While, a collection of his best short fiction, which a week after we spoke won the prestigious Story Prize.

We began however with Rick Bass the Environmental Activist - in his home state of Montana and elsewhere across the United States and disunited world. You can read more about his work to save the natural world and fight the powers that seek to denude it at his excellent website: rickbass.net/projects

We spoke over the magic of Skype. This not only allowed us to talk from different locations (TWL at home in Oxford; Bass from his writing office near Montana State University), it inspired new, if temporary theme music. Other sounds are provided by the TWL daughter: 'It's good music,' Bass said kindly as she chatters in the background. In this opening instalment, our focus was on the election of Donald Trump and what it might mean for the environment and environmental politics in the United States.

Bass is unequivocal: 'In the worst nightmare horror movie you would not have such goings on'. From this low point we skate upwards to:

  • Bass on the 2016 Presidential race
  • 'Everybody's in mourning and is searching for a centre current of resistance': the response to Trump's ascension
  • 'I for one am glad I have guns': Bass on protest and a 'terrifying' America
  • would Hilary Clinton have been a greener President?
  • Trump, the Keystone Pipeline, Scott Pruitt - reasons not to be cheerful
  • the state of writing and journalism under Trump
  • 'cultural clamour': the changing, angry face of public politics in America
  • Rick Bass: writing or activism; writing and activism?
  • science, art, politics

Part two to follow.

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