SANTA ROSA --
Copperfield’s Books is thrilled to welcome Manjula Martin and Dani Burlison for a conversation about Manjula’s new book - The Last Fire Season: A Personal and Pyronatural History.
The discussion will be followed by a Q&A and book signing.
This event is free and open to the public.
H Is for Hawk meets Joan Didion in the Pyrocene in this arresting combination of memoir, natural history, and literary inquiry that chronicles one woman’s experience of life in Northern California during the worst fire season on record.
Told in luminous, perceptive prose, The Last Fire Season is a deeply incisive inquiry into what it really means—now—to live in relationship to the elements of the natural world. When Manjula Martin moved from the city to the woods of Northern California, she wanted to be closer to the wilderness that she had loved as a child. She was also seeking refuge from a health crisis that left her with chronic pain, and found a sense of healing through tending her garden beneath the redwoods of Sonoma County. But the landscape that Martin treasured was an ecosystem already in crisis. Wildfires fueled by climate change were growing bigger and more frequent: each autumn, her garden filled with smoke and ash, and the local firehouse siren wailed deep into the night.
In 2020, when a dry lightning storm ignited hundreds of simultaneous wildfires across the West and kicked off the worst fire season on record, Martin, along with thousands of other Californians, evacuated her home in the midst of a pandemic. Both a love letter to the forests of the West and an interrogation of the colonialist practices that led to their current dilemma, The Last Fire Season, follows her from the oaky hills of Sonoma County to the redwood forests of coastal Santa Cruz, to the pines and peaks of the Sierra Nevada, as she seeks shelter, bears witness to the devastation, and tries to better understand fire’s role in the ecology of the West. As Martin seeks a way to navigate the daily experience of living in a damaged body on a damaged planet, she comes to question her own assumptions about nature and the complicated connections between people and the land on which we live.
Author: Manjula Martin is coauthor, with her father, Orin Martin, of Fruit Trees for Every Garden, which won the 2020 American Horticultural Society Book Award. Her nonfiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Cut, Pacific Standard, Modern Farmer, and Hazlitt. She edited the anthology Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living; was managing editor of Francis Ford Coppola’s literary magazine, Zoetrope: All-Story; and has worked in varied editorial capacities in the nonprofit and publishing sectors. She lives in West Sonoma County, California
Dani Burlison (she/her) is the creator/editor of “All of Me: Stories of Love, Anger and the Female Body” (PM Press, 2019), and the author of a short story collection, “Some Places Worth Leaving” (Tolsun Books, 2020) and “Dendrophilia and Other Social Taboos: True Stories,” a collection of essays which first appeared in her McSweeney’s Internet Tendency column of the same name. She is currently co-editing (with Margaret Elysia Garcia) an anthology about fires and mutual aid in Northern California called “Red Flag Warning.” Dani has been a staff writer at a Bay Area alt-weekly and a regular contributor at Yes! Magazine, Chicago Tribune, KQED, and elsewhere. Her journalism, fiction and personal essays can be found at Ms. Magazine, WIRED, Earth Island Journal, The Rumpus, Portland Review, Hip Mama Magazine, and in various anthologies and zines. You can find out more at daniburlison.com