Kate Neville’s nonfiction manuscript Going to Seed has been awarded the inaugural Sowell Emerging Writers Prize by Texas Tech University Press, Terrain.org, and the Sowell Collection.
Neville’s debut, Going to Seed, explores questions of idleness, considering the labor both of humans and of the myriad other inhabitants of the world. Drawing on science, literature, poetry, and personal observation, these winding and sometimes playful essays pay attention to the activities of the other-than-human lives that are usually excluded from our built and settled spaces, asking whose work and what kinds of work might be needed for a more just future for all.
Neville is an associate professor of political science in the School of the Environment at the University of Toronto, where she studies global energy and resource politics and community resistance. When not in Toronto, she can be found in a cabin in northern British Columbia, on the territory of the Taku River Tlingit First Nation.
Going to Seed is the inaugural (and 2023) winner of the Sowell Emerging Writers Prize, which is produced in collaboration with the Sowell Family Collection in Literature, Community, and the Natural World, Texas Tech University Press, and Terrain.org. The prize promotes works about and related to the natural world by early-career writers. In the spirit of the Sowell-affiliated writers and Terrain.org, these new works encourage exploration between human communities and nature from scientific inquiry and personal experience.
Neville wins an award of $1,000, and Going to Seed will be published by Texas Tech University Press in spring 2024.
More About Going to Seed
An abandoned place, a disheveled person, a shabby or deteriorating state: we describe such ruin colloquially as “going to seed.” But gardeners will protest: going to seed as idle? No, plants are sending out compressed packets filled with the energy needed to sow new life. A pause from flowering gives a chance for the seeds to form. In a time of urgent environmental change, of pressing social injustice, and of ever-advancing technologies and global connections, we often respond with acceleration—a speeding up and scaling up of our strategies to counter the damage and destruction around us. But what if we take the seeds as a starting point: what might we learn about work, sustainability, and relationships on this beleaguered planet if we slowed down, stepped back, and held off?