Rebecca Solnit with cinematographer Christian Bruno in 2010
June 24, 1961 |
Bridgeport, Connecticut, United States
|Occupation||Author, memoirist, essayist|
|Subject||Cultural history, environmentalism, memoir|
Rebecca Solnit (born June 24, 1961) is an American writer. She has written on a variety of subjects, including the environment, politics, place, and art. Solnit is a contributing editor at Harper's Magazine, where bi-monthly she writes the magazine's "Easy Chair" essay.
Early life and education
Solnit was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. to a Jewish father and Irish Catholic mother, and in 1966 her family moved to Novato, California, where she grew up. "I was a battered little kid," she said of her childhood. She skipped high school altogether, enrolling in an alternative junior high in the public school system that took her through tenth grade, when she passed the GED. Thereafter she enrolled in junior college. When she was 17 she went to study in Paris, France. She ultimately returned to California and finished her college education at San Francisco State University. She then received a master's degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley in 1984 and has been an independent writer since 1988.
Solnit has worked on environmental and human rights campaigns since the 1980s, notably with the Western Shoshone Defense Project in the early 1990s, as described in her book Savage Dreams, and with antiwar activists throughout the Bush era. She has discussed her interest in climate change and the work of 350.org and the Sierra Club, and in women's rights, especially violence against women.
Her writing has appeared in numerous publications in print and online, including the Guardian newspaper and Harper's Magazine, where she is the first woman to regularly write the Easy Chair column founded in 1851. She is also a regular contributor to the political blog TomDispatch and to LitHub.
Solnit is the author of seventeen books as well as essays in numerous museum catalogs and anthologies. Her 2009 book A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster began as an essay called "The Uses of Disaster: Notes on Bad Weather and Good Government" published by Harper’s magazine the day that Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast. It was partially inspired by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which Solnit described as "a remarkable occasion...a moment when everyday life ground to a halt and people looked around and hunkered down". In a conversation with filmmaker Astra Taylor for BOMB magazine, Solnit summarized the radical theme of A Paradise Built in Hell: "What happens in disasters demonstrates everything an anarchist ever wanted to believe about the triumph of civil society and the failure of institutional authority."
Awards and recognition
Solnit has received two NEA fellowships for Literature, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan literary fellowship, and a 2004 Wired Rave Award for writing on the effects of technology on the arts and humanities. In 2010 Utne Reader magazine named Solnit as one of the "25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World". Her The Faraway Nearby (2013) was nominated for a National Book Award, and shortlisted for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award.
For River of Shadows, Solnit was honored with the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism and the 2004 Sally Hacker Prize from the Society for the History of Technology, which honors exceptional scholarship that reaches beyond the academy toward a broad audience. Solnit was also awarded Harvard's Mark Lynton History Prize in 2004 for River of Shadows.
Solnit is credited with the concept behind the term mansplaining, a habitual gender-based condescending language style that emerged as a term shortly after her April 2008 blog post "Men Explain Things to Me," although she did not invent the portmanteau word itself.
- Solnit, Rebecca (1991). Secret exhibition : six California artists of the Cold War era. San Francisco: City Lights. ISBN 9780872862548.
- Savage Dreams: A Journey Into the Landscape Wars of the American West. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2014 . ISBN 9780520957923.
- A Book of Migrations: Some Passages in Ireland. London: Verso. 2011 . ISBN 9781844677085.
- Wanderlust: A History of Walking. New York: Penguin. 2001 . ISBN 9780140286014.
- Hollow City: The Siege of San Francisco and the Crisis of American Urbanism. Images by Susan Schwartzenberg. London: Verso. 2002 . ISBN 9781859843635.
- As Eve Said to the Serpent: On Landscape, Gender, and Art. Athens: University of Georgia Press. 2003 . ISBN 9780820324937.
- River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West. New York: Viking. 2004 . ISBN 0142004103.
- Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities (Updated Edition). Haymarket Books. 2016 . ISBN 9781608465767.
- A Field Guide to Getting Lost. New York: Viking. 2005. ISBN 9781101118719.
- Klett, Mark; Solnit, Rebecca; Wolfe, Byron (2005). Yosemite in Time: Ice Ages, Tree Clocks, Ghost Rivers. San Antonio: Trinity University Press. ISBN 9781595340429.
- "The Ruins of Memory". After the Ruins, 1906 and 2006: Rephotographing the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. By Mark Klett with Michael Lundgren. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2006. ISBN 9780520245563.
- Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2007. ISBN 9780520256569.
- A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster. New York: Penguin. 2010 . ISBN 9781101459010.
- Solnit, David; Solnit, Rebecca, eds. (2009). The Battle of the Story of the Battle of Seattle. AK Press. ISBN 9781904859635.
- A California Bestiary. Illustrations by Mona Caron. Berkeley: Heyday Books. 2010. ISBN 9781597141253.
- Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2010. ISBN 9780520262492.
- The Faraway Nearby. New York: Penguin. 2013. ISBN 9781101622773.
- Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2013. ISBN 9780520262492.
- Men Explain Things To Me. Chicago: Haymarket Books. 2014. ISBN 9781608464579.
- The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness. San Antonio: Trinity University Press. 2014. ISBN 9781608464579.
- Ruins. London, England: Whitechapel Art Gallery; Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 2011. ISBN: 9780854881932.
Essays and reporting
- Solnit, Rebecca (October 2008). "News from Nowhere: Iceland's Polite Dystopia". Harper's Magazine.
- — (December 22–29, 2014). "Coyote". Inner Worlds. The New Yorker. 90 (41): 76. Retrieved 2015-03-30.
- Peter Terzian (July–August 2007). "Room to Roam". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2007-08-17.
- Susanna Rustin (May 29, 2013). "Rebecca Solnit: a life in writing". The Guardian.
- Caitlin D. (September 4, 2014). "Why Can't I Be You: Rebecca Solnit". Rookie.
- Benson, Heidi (June 13, 2004). "Move Over, Joan Didion / Make room for Rebecca Solnit, California's newest cultural historian". SFGate.com. San Francisco.
- "Meet Our Alumni: College of Letters & Science - Authors". berkeley.edu. Regents of the University of California. 2010.
- "Rebecca Solnit". tupress.org. Trinity University Press. 2014.
- Taylor, Astra (Fall 2009). "Rebecca Solnot". BOMB Magazine. Retrieved 26 July 2011.
- Interviewers: Leslie Chang and Mike Osborne (August 9, 2013). "San Francisco, the island within an island". Generation Anthropocene. Season 5. 25:58 minutes in.
- "The Wired Rave Award". Wired. April 2004. Retrieved 2009-10-08.
- "Rebecca Solnit: The Silver Cloud". Retrieved 2010-10-19.
- Critical Mass(January 13, 2014) "Announcing the 2014 Publishing Year Natinonal Book Awards." (Retrieved 4-13-14.)
- Kirsten Reach (January 14, 2014). "NBCC finalists announced". Melville House Publishing. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
- "Announcing the National Book Critics Awards Finalists for Publishing Year 2013". National Book Critics Circle. January 14, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
- National Book Critics Circle (2014). "All Past National Book Critics Circle Award Winners and Finalists". Retrieved December 26, 2014.
- Society for the History of Technology (2014). "The Hacker Prize, Recipients of the Sally Hacker Prize". Retrieved December 26, 2014.
- Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard (2014). "J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project". Retrieved December 26, 2014.
- Robinson, Anna. "The Art of Mansplaining". The Nation Institute. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
- Solnit, Rebecca. "Why "Mansplaining" Is Still a Problem". AlterNet. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
- Rothman, Lily (1 November 2012). "A Cultural History of Mansplaining". The Atlantic. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
- Rebecca Solnit official website
- Works by or about Rebecca Solnit in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Rebecca Solnit author page at Penguin Books
- Rebecca Solnit at The Nation magazine
- Rebecca Solnit author page at TomDispatch.com
- Rebecca Solnit in the London Review of Books
- Rebecca Solnit in Harper's Magazine
- New York Public Library conversation with Peter Coyote
- Interview With Rebecca Solnit by Padma Viswanathan in The Rumpus, August 7, 2009