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UT Humanities Center Public Books Circle: Appleseed: A Novel

What is “cli-fi” and how is it changing the landscape of contemporary fiction? Join our next Public Books Circle to discuss Appleseed: A Novel to learn about this exciting new genre! Professor Amy Elias will lead the discussion of Appleseed.

Part speculative epic, part tech thriller, part fairy tale, and named a best book of summer 2021 by The New York Times, Appleseed tells three stories. The first is set in eighteenth-century Ohio, where two brothers travel into the American frontier to plant apple orchards from which they hope to profit in future years. The second is set at the end of the 21st century, at a time when climate change has ravaged the Earth and a political drama commences involving genetic engineering and food science. The third story is set a thousand years in the future, when North America is covered by a massive sheet of ice inhabited by a lonely sentient being hoping to discover the last remnant of civilization. Together, these stories create an unforgettable meditation on climate change; corporate, civic, and familial responsibility; manifest destiny; and the myths and legends that sustain social life today.

Matt Bell is the author of Appleseed: A Novel (2021) and the novels Scrapper (2016) and In the House upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods (2014)--a finalist for the Young Lions Fiction Award and an Indies Choice Adult Book of the Year Honor Recipient-- as well as the short story collection A Tree or a Person or a Wall, a non-fiction book about the classic video game Baldur's Gate II, and other books. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Esquire, Tin House, Fairy Tale Review, American Short Fiction, and Orion, and his fiction has been anthologized in Best American Mystery Stories 2010, Best American Fantasy 2, and 30 Under 30: An Anthology of Innovative Fiction by Younger Writers. A native of Michigan, he teaches creative writing at Arizona State University.

How it works:

Our Public Books Circle meets online one Wednesday a month and is free and open to the public. Each of our sessions is led by a UT professor, and everyone is welcome to add their voice to the discussion!

  • Register for the book discussion meeting by clicking on the registration link below (you'll be sent a confirmation email with your own unique link to the discussion)
  • Buy a copy of the book (Union Ave Books in downtown Knoxville will be happy to handle your order )
  • Read, enjoy, and join the book discussion online on the date of the event!

Amy J. Elias is Chancellor's Professor and Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and director of the UT Humanities Center. She is the author of the prize-winning Sublime Desire: History and Post-1960s Fiction; and co-editor of Time: A Vocabulary of the Present and The Planetary Turn: Relationality and Geoaesthetics in the 21st Century. She is currently editing In a Speculative Light: The Arts of Beauford Delaney and James Baldwin, soon to be published by Duke University Press. Recipient of two NEH grants since 2018, she was the principal founder of ASAP: The Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present and the founding co-editor of the national prize-winning periodical ASAP/Journal, and her current work focuses on contemporary literature, ecology, and new forms of ethical dialogue.

Free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Dial-In Information

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Wednesday, October 13, 2021 at 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Virtual Event
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Lectures & Presentations


Humanities & Social Sciences


Current Students, Faculty & Staff, Alumni, General Public


Classics, English, History, Philosophy, Political Science, World Languages and Cultures


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UT Humanities Center

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