Vermont Humanities
Author Bill McKibben speaks from a lectern in front of a white wall, wearing a green gray zip up fleece and glasses.

Where Do We Stand? A Report from the Climate Battle

Author and activist Bill McKibben— the Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College and leader of the climate campaign group 350.org— shares an overview of the climate crisis and what changes need to be made to save the planet. McKibben spoke at Norwich Congregational Church, United Church of Christ on December 7, 2022, presented by the Norwich Library.

Author Andrew Liptak presents a white disassembled Star Wars Stormtrooper outfit to a group of onlookers at a library

The History of Cosplay

Cosplay— the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game—has a long history within science fiction and fantasy fandom. In recent years, it’s become a mainstream phenomenon. Andrew Liptak, author of Cosplay: A History, describes how cosplay has evolved from a niche activity of convention-goers in the mid-20th century to wide popularity today.

The Making of the Graphic Novel: 1177 BC The Year Civilization Collapsed

In this First Wednesdays event at the Brownell Library on November 2, 2022, author/illustrator Glynnis Fawkes reads from and discusses her latest work-in-progress and describes how the storytelling elements of comics—panel design, pacing, research, and narrative—are employed in creating non-fiction graphic novels. She also reviews the comic she contributed to the Vermont Reads 2022 book, The Most Costly Journey (El Viaje Más Caro).

a path leads out on to a rock ledge that overlooks a bay or ocean at sunset

Arribada, A Novel

Author and Middlebury professor Gloria Estela Gonzalez Zenteno discusses her new novel Arribada, about a woman pushed to confront her role in environmental and social injustice, and a well-to-do family’s realization that their comfortable position rests on crimes against the natural world, their town, and their loved ones.

A drone sits in a hangar looking out on a desert and mountain as a man in a jumpsuit walks towards it.

Dirty Work with Author Eyal Press

In his award-winning Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America, journalist Eyal Press examines the morally troubling jobs that society tacitly condones, and the hidden class of workers who do them. Press, a contributor to The New Yorker and The New York Times, discusses his reporting for the book, which won the 2022 Hillman Prize for book journalism and appeared on numerous “best books of 2021” lists.

A postcard illustration of the Rudyard Kipling Estate in Brattleboro, VT at sunset

Five Hard Questions about Kipling in Vermont

On his farm overlooking Brattleboro, Rudyard Kipling wrote the Jungle Book and many of his Just So Stories, and began to draft his great novel, Kim. Christopher Benfey, author If: The Untold Story of Kipling’s American Years, answers hard questions about Kipling’s time in this country, including whether he should be considered partly an American writer.

Reflections on Writing and Illustration

Vermonter Jason Chin has written and illustrated many acclaimed children’s books, including Grand Canyon, Redwoods, and Your Place in the Universe. He received the 2022 Caldecott Medal for illustrating Watercress by Andrea Wang. In this presentation at The Brownell Libary on October 5, 2022, he describes his passion for nature, science, and art,  and discusses the impact of his work with young people.

A colorful graffito of Miles Davis playing trumpet with bright colors and shapes surrounding him

The Electric Period of Miles Davis

The ever-changing music that Miles Davis recorded from 1969 to 1975 angered and bewildered many critics and fans, who accused the trumpeter of “selling out.” In this First Wednesdays event from October 2022 at the Brooks Memorial Library in Brattleboro, jazz archivist and poet Reuben Jackson shares how recordings from Davis’ “Electric Period”—including 1974’s Get Up With It—prove otherwise.