The Environmental Storytelling Studio (TESS) at Brown University is for academic experts who want to engage a broader audience for their work by marrying scholarship with storytelling. TESS was founded by Bathsheba Demuth & Kerri Arsenault in 2022, with the support of the Institute at Brown [University] for Environment and Society.
Most of the books we selected reflect the kind of environmental stories we like to read and teach: stories that contain critical information but delivered using the tenets of literary storytelling -- metaphor, structure, good prose, memorable details, voice, people, places, things.
We define "environment" broadly, meaning: we are not just interested in texts about "nature", conservation, preservation, climate issues, and so on. Nor are we interested in a single subjects, like say, icebergs or bears. While the books we love may contain such ideas or topics, they are sometimes a small part of the gestalt we envision.
We also feel similarly about disaster narratives, political or activist narratives, science narratives, investigative narratives, or historical narratives --meaning, such agendas can be in the books we pick, but they must contain more than one note, more than a raised fist, more than a straight timeline, more than a smoking gun at the end, and more than an avalanche of facts. Stories, in other words. We love good stories with environmental themes, but they also must be complex, literary, not overly sentimental, not divisive, and ask more questions than the answers they provide. Take a look at our books and you'll see what we mean!