'Alec Connon's extraordinary adventures into the world of the whale epitomise the vast disconnect between the human and natural world. In this heartfelt novel, he explores the outer edges of the world which we have dominated, and the price it has had to pay for that domination. In picaresque episodes which are by turns funny, tragic and deeply moving, Connon addresses, in a highly personal and evocative manner, the ways by which we might make amends for what we have done'.
- Philip Hoare, winner of the 2009 BBC Samuel Johnson prize and author of Leviathan or, The Whale and The Sea Inside.
"The Activist is a bold and deeply affecting book -- sharply atmospheric, the reader feels the ever-shifting setting with total immediacy. The enthralling tale presents the plight of the natural world -- and its relationship with the human race -- with an intimacy that is unlike anything I've ever seen in a novel. Connon has found a new and invigorating way forward for the nature writing novel."
Peter Mountford, Washington State Book Award Winner, and author of A Young Man's Guide to Late Capitalism, and The Dismal Science
"This is a cracking good adventure, but it also gets deep toward the heart of the greatest questions facing our planet and our species. Be careful--if you read it, you will find yourself asking, 'What am I supposed to be doing with my life?'"
Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and Co-Founder of 350.org
RECENT PUBLICATIONS AND NEWS
* JPMorgan Chase and Climate Change in Other98
* The Olympic National Park in The Great Outdoors
* The Stranger, To Stop the Flow of Oil, Stop the Flow of Dollars
* Crosscut, The Good and Very Bad of Sen. Cantwell's Energy Bill
* 350.org, Time to Boycott the Banks Funding Climate Disaster
* Crosscut, Why Seattle Should Unload Its Fossil Fuel Investments
* Great review of The Activist in Eventus Magazine
* Appeared at the Belfast Book Festival discussing "What Role Should Activism Play In A Healthy Democracy" with author Tanya Jones.
* The Activist Coast Magazine's Book of the Month.
Happy readers at the launch of The Activist, 18/03/2016
* Author of the Month in BBC Wildlife Magazine: June 2016.
* Caught by the River, The Book That Changed Me
* The Guardian: Why The Gates Foundation Should Divest From Fossil Fuels
* Interview in The Carluke Gazette
* Appearance at the Glasgow's Book Festival, Aye Write! alongside bestselling author Alan Bissett
* More reviews of The Activist.
* Op-ed in Crosscut: City Light CEO a poor fit, given Seattle's environmental goals
* Why burning trees isn't a clean energy source in Crosscut
* Feature length article in Scotland Outdoors
* Short essay in Common Dreams: "Who Really Needs A Super Yacht Anyway?"
* Another short piece in Common Dreams
* Short Op-Ed in Popular Resistance
FURTHER PRAISE FOR THE ACTIVIST
“The Activist is an entertaining and heartfelt antidote to sea tales penned by hunters and fishermen. In it Tom Durant joins a colourful crew of activists to turn the tables and hunt the hunters, chasing the whalers who ply their trade in defiance of an international ban. In telling Tom’s story, Connon contrasts the best and worst of people as they face off across the mountainous seas of the Southern Ocean.”
Dr. Callum Roberts, Professor of Marine Conservation at the University of York, and author of Ocean of Life
* * *
"The Activist is not only a timely reminder of the damage humans are doing to the oceans, but has the pace and urgency of a thriller. There are scenes of ocean-set combat between whalers and those brave souls determined to stop them which will stay with you forever. Alec Connon is one to watch."
Alan Bissett, author Pack Men and The Incredible Adam Spark
* * *
“The Activist is that rare thing: A novel that is equal parts absorbing and entertaining, educational and inspiring.
Told with a deft combining of past and present and a skillful balancing of lyrical descriptions of landscape with the violent, visceral memories of our lead protagonist, it is an ambitious coming-of-age novel that sees a young man struggling to come to terms with the degradation of the world’s oceans – and his complicity in their destruction – before he ultimately sets out on a life altering adventure to try and save them.”
Waverly Fitzgerald, Author of Slow Time
Or find it at
Also available on Kindle
"From the coast of Libya to the Southern Ocean to the killing cove of Taiji, Japan, Connon's protagonist takes on a thrilling journey with the few dozen people on the planet willing to put their lives on the line to protect other species. We are in the middle of the Sixth Great Mass Extinction, this one caused by us. This is the story of our time: to bear witness and take responsibility for the ones who have no voice--the dolphins and songbirds, the sea cucumbers and turtles, the plankton and forest trees--and Alec Connon does it justice."
-- Peter Heller, author of The Dog Stars, and The Whale Warriors
"A beautiful and compelling book -- part bildungsroman, part swashbuckling adventure. While coming of age in ways that would be broadly familiar to many readers, the protagonist stumbles on a book that changes his life in ways less familiar, inspiring not only a moral and spiritual awakening, but a turn to the kind of action that could either give his life great meaning or, conceivably, end it. (...) In telling Tam's story, Connon reminds us of the stakes in this challenge, and also that one can decide to rise to it. Given extraordinary risks, he seems to say, it's not so hard to do extraordinary things ... and to do so can be very satisfying, indeed. As well as deeply satisfying to read about."
Emily Johnston, author of Her Animals
"The Activist brings the tragedy of the oceans to life in vivid colour. When Thomas goes to sea and witnesses the atrocities being perpetrated against whales and other marine life, I found myself learning a huge amount about issues that effect every single person on this planet. These issues go way beyond the plot of the novel. Harsh environmental truths are explored with sensitivity and urgency, and it takes a lot of skill to wrote effective fiction about such politically charged subjects.
The book makes for compelling but uncomfortable reading. Compelling because its well-written, uncomfortable because its forces you to confront grim truths about humanity and our future."
Alex Roddie, review in TGO Magazine
The writing is visceral, entertaining and easy to read, the narrative rattles along at a great pace, whisking you from Scotland, to America, to Japan, even to the frigid shores of the Antarctic. Alec Connon creates vivid and three dimensional characters, finds the humour in difficult situations, but also ensures that his readers are shocked and appalled by the things we as a species have managed to do to the world we rely on.
Alice Baynton, Eventus Magazine
You can also sign up for my blog here.
By signing up you will only receive very occasional notifications whenever I post a new blog.