“Perhaps a future of environmental writing begins in trying to meet all people where they are, wherever they are,” writes Lauret E. Savoy. “It’s acknowledging and honoring difference as enriching.” In Trespass , twenty women essayists challenge the traditional boundaries of place-based writing to make room for greater complexity: explorations of body, sexuality, gender, and race. Traveling across time and place—from a Minnesota summer camp to the peacock-lined streets of Kerala, India—these essays reveal their authors as artful and singular observers of their homes, lives, and histories. Emerging writers along with celebrated voices in the field, including Belle Boggs, Camille T. Dungy, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Terry Tempest Williams, reclaim spaces that have always been theirs.
Observing the policing of Detroit, Aisha Sabatini Sloan bears witness to environmental racism, and finds community with family and neighbors. Toni Jensen traces the erasure of Native culture on college campuses and challenges notions of safety in light of sexual and gun violence. Laurie Clements Lambeth paints the strength and fragility of the human body through the lens of a progressive neurological disease. And Shuchi Saraswat’s trip to the Bay Area to document a ceremony honoring Ganesha leads her on her own journey home.
Originally published in the pages of Ecotone, the award-winning literary magazine that reimagines place, these essays recount how women uniquely shape and are shaped by their environments. Together, they spark new conversations, showing the ways we forge identity through larger cultural considerations—in our bodies, our neighborhoods, and the natural world.