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Community Reads: Fall 2023 | Climate Justice and Visionary Fiction

A guide to the Community Reads program at UWB/CC Campus Library

Fall 2023: Afterglow: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors

“We are already dreaming beyond this current moment, these crises, these norms. Dreams are the foundation for what we attempt to turn into reality. . . . When we know things need to change, dreaming together is one of the places we can start."

adrienne maree brown, Foreword to Afterglow

For the 2023-2024 academic year, Community Reads will be focusing on the book Afterglow: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors, an anthology of visionary fiction about climate justice. As time goes on, and the devastating impacts of climate change and environmental racism become more difficult to ignore, climate justice becomes an increasingly urgent topic of discussion and action. However, inspired by the concept of visionary fiction as a tool for imagining better futures, we choose to focus our attention on not only the ways things could go wrong, but the ways they could go right. The short stories in Afterglow imagine climate futures based on justice, community, and alternative ways of knowing. They are, as foreword author adrienne maree brown says, “a variety of attempts to decolonize our thinking of the future, particularly on this planet, and to show what hope and utopia look like through lenses beyond our own.” In our programming inspired by this book, we seek to use visionary fiction to ask the question: what could an environmentally just future look like?

Each quarter, we will focus on a different short story within the text, looking at the intersections of social and environmental justice with attention to how each story responds to issues present today. We will also emphasize the use of visionary fiction as our own tool, a way to decolonize our minds and challenge dominant thought patterns. We encourage our participants to think outside the bounds of what seems possible, using radical imagination as the first step towards a more just future. In keeping with this goal, we encourage community members to submit their own visionary climate fiction to our digital anthology project (more information below).

Access the eBook through UW Libraries

Access in other ways

Read all of the short stories in the collection, including Afterglow, on the Grist website.

Buy the book at Third Place Books or the University Bookstore

Listen to seven of the stories, including Afterglow, on the Grist website.

Community Reads Team Contacts

Contact members of the team via email with questions, comments, or concerns:

Event | Afterglow

For our Fall Quarter event, Community Reads will be hosting a discussion of the short story “Afterglow,” the winner of the Grist contest and the first story in the book Afterglow: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors.

Date: Wednesday, November 8

Time: 12:00-1:30 PM

Location: LB1-205 (library building, second floor) or Zoom (registration link here)

Join us for snacks, a discussion of the story, and conversation about climate fiction and new ways of visioning the world and our relationship to it. Whether you’ve read some, all, or none of the story, you are welcome!

Food will be provided, but out of care for your community members, we request that you wear a mask when not eating. Free disposable masks can be found at the entrance to the library. If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, please stay home and avail yourself of our remote option.

Fall Quarter Reading

Afterglow: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors edited by Grist with a foreword by adrienne maree brown. E-book available in the UW Libraries catalog. UW NetID required for access (for Cascadia community members who do not have a NetID, please visit the CC Computing Services NetID website to get started).


About "Afterglow"

For Fall Quarter, we will be focusing on the short story “Afterglow” by Lindsey Brodeck. The winner of the Grist climate fiction contest, "Afterglow" focuses on the journey to find new ways of being in community as species inhabiting a shared world. In a city ravaged by environmental destruction, the narrator Talli follows a trail of bees to discover a community working on environmental restoration efforts. Crucially, these efforts are guided by new ways of thinking about and understanding humans’ and other species' relationships with one another and with the world they inhabit. "Afterglow" reminds us that everything begins with relation, and that thinking small can lead to vast transformation.

About the Authors and Editors

"Lindsey Brodeck (she/her/hers) lives in Bend, Oregon, and is a graduate student at the University of Washington studying speech language pathology. She has an MFA in creative writing from Oregon State University-Cascades, and a BA in Biology-Environmental Studies from Whitman College, where she completed a two-year thesis studying native bee and plant interactions. Afterglow is her first published story. ”(from

“adrienne maree brown grows healing ideas in public through her multi-genre writing, her music and her podcasts. Informed by 25 years of movement facilitation, somatics, Octavia E Butler scholarship and her work as a doula, adrienne has nurtured Emergent Strategy, Pleasure Activism, Radical Imagination and Transformative Justice as ideas and practices for transformation. She is the author/editor of seven published texts and the founder of the Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute, where she is now the writer-in-residence.” (from

“Grist is a nonprofit, independent media organization dedicated to telling stories of climate solutions and a just future. Our goal is to use the power of storytelling to illuminate the way toward a better world, inspire millions of people to walk that path with us, and show that the time for action is now.” (from

Community Anthology: Visionary Fiction

During the 2022-2023 academic year, the Community Reads team created an open digital anthology site to welcome submissions of visionary fiction from our community members. This year, we will build on that site for submissions of visionary fiction with an environmental justice lens. Inspired by the short stories in Afterglow, we encourage you to imagine your own futures and submit your own visionary writing to our site, contributing to a community repository of shared dreams and radical imagination.

To learn more about this project, how to submit, and what open work is, please visit the “Share” page of the site. We hope you will feel inspired to write some visionary work of your own or be inspired by your fellow community members' submissions.