Garn Press Author Celebration Recap: Fanciful Imaginers, Polemicists, and Windmill Tilters: Fanciful Imaginers, Polemicists, and Windmill Tilters

“Deep in the heart of Manhattan,” David Joseph Kolb writes, “a small circle of writers has gathered to study, explain, and discover their craft.”

Kolb is the author of Devil Knows: A Tale of Murder and Madness in America’s First Century, and he has just participated in the Garn Press Author Celebration in the Rare Books Room at the Strand. “Perhaps,” he writes, “from this seed great things will take root. Delighted to be here for the ‘planting’.”

Perhaps.

“Words, words, words,” Anthony Cody, author of The Educator and the Oligarch: A Teacher Challenges the Gates Foundation, writes. “We are surrounded by books, writers and speakers — language for making change in a world that needs it.”

“But most of all we find company, companionship, as the words of all our stories are told,” Cody continues, with thanks to Garn “for putting our words in print, and for gathering this ad hoc family of kindred spirits – fanciful imaginers, polemicists, and windmill tilters – now connected in person, experience, and by sharing our words.”

Fanciful imaginers, polemicists, and windmill tilters – at Garn Press that’s what we are.

In the coming weeks Garn Press will share excerpts from the Rare Books Room event and from the weeklong author celebration. We will post photos and videos and commentary, and encourage you to take root in the words of Garn authors. In this post we include with the photo gallery a quote from Denny Taylor’s introduction to the Readers Theater to set the scene:

In 1974 a book was published entitled The End of the World. The author was Franklyn M. Branley, Astronomer Emeritus and former Chairman of the American Museum-Hayden Planetarium.

The first line in the book is “Someday the world will end.” But on page two Franklyn Branley writes, “The end of the world will not occur in your lifetime, or that of your children’s children. We can be quite sure that doomsday will be billions of years in the future.”

Forty years later we are no longer so sure. At Cambridge University where Geoff Ward is Principal of Homerton College there is now a Center for the Study of Existential Risk that explores possible scenarios that could end human life on the planet.

Our story has changed and people are struggling to get their heads around the unequivocal conclusions of research conducted by the world’s scientific community that by the middle of the 21st century the planet will be hotter, wetter, drier, and the weather patterns will be – are already – more uncertain, and societies are more unstable.

Many people are asking how we can respond to the rapid atmospheric, environmental and social changes that are taking place when so many of our political, corporate, and industrial leaders are unresponsive to the needs of people in the US and the global community?

At Garn Press we constantly ask: Where’s the hope?

Our response, which we act on everyday, is to put our trust in the people.

In 2013 we established Garn Press in response to what we consider existential threats to people and the planet.

Ben Taylor, who is taking photos over there, said to me the other day “Social justice. It’s what we do.”

He’s also said, Garn is a wild ride, and it is.

But it’s what we have done for more than a hundred years – from women’s suffrage, to rights of coal miners in South Wales, to human rights, animal rights, Earth rights – we have made it a family practice to respond to catastrophic events, social injustice, and racism.

The Mission at Garn Press is the quest for knowledge that can be acted upon. Quixotically, we are taking on the grand challenges confronting people and the planet and encouraging people to join us.

The task is to imagine the future so we can re-imagine the present.

At Garn an urgent question that is constantly asked is: “What will life on Earth be like in 50 years time?” This question is followed by: “What actionable knowledge do we need to change the future now?”

We are clear eyed and work without expecting to make a huge difference but we do expect to make some difference by publishing books by writers of conscience who care deeply about what happens to people and this world.

“I can hardly catch my breath,” Esther Fine, author of Raising Peacemakers, writes in response to the author celebrations. “This is such a remarkable set of books, opportunities, and visions. Thank you for bringing so many people, ideas, and accomplishments together. I look forward to our long future – all of us together for projects yet to come.”

At Garn we look forward too and we offer our thanks to all Garn authors for putting their trust in us as we put our trust in in you.

 

 

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