Author and activist Rebecca Solnit is AAG’s 2023 Honorary Geographer, an award given annually to recognize an exceptional leader in the arts, research, teaching, and writing whose work addresses geographic topics.
Among her many works, she conceived and directed Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas (with the design genius Lia Tjandra and incorporating the work of cartographers, historians, writers, and artists), whose success prompted further atlases co-directed by Rebecca Snedeker (in New Orleans) and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro (in New York). All three books, totaling seventy maps and a similar number of essays, were explorations of what maps and cities had been and could be, in a time when both face erosive change.
Solnit has consistently used her talent as an author to shine light on possibilities for a better world, and she is deeply engaged in fighting for the planet’s future. Her latest project is Not Too Late, an activation and a provocation developed with Thelma Young Lutunatabua that invites newcomers to climate activism with optimism and ideas for change. Solnit’s most recent book, Orwell’s Roses, examines the writer’s life and work through the knowledge that in 1936 he planted roses in his garden, at a time when the world was convulsing in the grip of authoritarianism.
Solnit will be recognized at AAG 2023, and will offer perspectives drawn from her ground-shifting work, as author of more than 20 books that manifest the reinforcing influences of geography, ecology, and human destiny.
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Photo credit: Trent Davis Bailey