Praise for The Activist
"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
'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 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 and The Unnatural History of the Sea
"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
“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
"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
PURCHASE THE ACTIVIST*
- The Great Outdoors published Playing in the Olympics, a feature article on Olympic National Park
- Crosscut published Mayor Murray Should Support Fossil Fuel Divestment
- The Seattle Times published an op-ed ghost-written by Alec
- Crosscut published Burning Trees Isn't the Solution to the Climate Crisis
- Caught By The River, The Book That Changed Me
- The Seattle Weekly ran Alec's rebuttal of their leading editorial the week before
- Crosscut published Alec's piece on the Mayor's nomination for CEO of Seattle City Light
- After a billionaire's yacht destroys a protected coral reef in the Caribbean Alec asks Who Really Needs A Super Yacht Anyway? in an article featured in Common Dreams
- Scotland Outdoors published Alec's photos and words in a feature length article Journey of Discovery, a 2,000 words article about cycling 60 miles from his front doorstep in order to solo hike the unmarked Ettrick Horseshoe in the Scottish Borders.
- Equalisea.org ran Alec's piece Defined from Birth
- Alec's Op-Ed Bill Gates' Solution Misses Vital Part of the Equation was published in Popular Resistance
- Common Dreams published Alec's Op-Ed: The Gates Foundation has sold it's Exxon Stock - But Why?
- Alec's Op-ed on fossil fuel divestment was published in The Guardian, September 2015
- An Op-Ed piece on Gates Divest by in the South Seattle Emerald, September 2015
- Alec wrote a short blog: Publishing: Still a Boy’s Club for Seattle-based gender equity blog Equalisea.org
Alec’s article Old Friends, New Trails, an article about how mountain biking can be the glue that can keep old friendships together, was published in bestselling mountain bike magazine Singletrack, Issue #98
- Alec’s piece Delicate Lessons, an op-ed on the topics of biking and brotherhood, was published in Singletrack Issue #94,
- Read about encounters with bears, mountain lions and failure as Alec writes about what its like to be stupid enough to try and pedal over 80 miles of the Colorado Trail in a single day, Singletrack, Issue #89
- 'Why', an article about why Alec so enjoys his bicycle, appeared in the USA magazine Mountain Flyer, January 2014
- The Climb, a short piece on the trails and tribulations on pedalling up the steeper inclines appeared in Singletrack Issue #86
- Alec's article about a traveller's experience of living in a Hmong run non-profit, Project Kajsiab in Northern Laos, appeared in both South-East Asia Backpacker (August 2013) and the website www.explorelaos.com
- Two articles about mountain biking in Laos and Thailand appeared in two consecutive issues of CycleAsia (July - September 2013)
- Alec's adventure in New Zealand's Fjordland National Park appeared in Singletrack, Issue #81. This was an epic: 3 days, huge alpine passes, snowy meadows, devastated forests and camping, under the stars, without a tent, all in order to complete a trip that they had been told was impassable.
- Alec's article on 3 days of exploration around the Tongariro National Park area in New Zealand's North Island appeared in NZ Mountain Biker, July 2012
- The Heaphy Track is one of New Zealand's 9 "Great Walks", Alec's piece on what also makes the trail a great mountain bike ride featured in the New Zealand magazine Adventure, May 2011
- Kat's Eyes a very early short story of Alec's, written while he was still at university, was published in the online literary journal fromglasgowtosaturn.com (he would also like to mention that he is no longer particularly happy with this piece of writing...)