The Nutmeg's Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis

Amitav Ghosh
22 Mar 2023
7:00 PM
Sun Room, Memorial Union
  • Pearl Hogrefe Fund
  • English Department
  • Humanities Iowa
  • Sketch Magazine
  • MFA Program in Creative Writing and Environment
  • Committee on Lectures (funded by Student Government)

A Pearl Hogrefe Lecture

Award Winning Author, Environmentalist & Climate Advocate, Amitav Ghosh will read from and discuss The Nutmeg’s Curse.  A powerful work of history, essay, testimony, and polemic, The Nutmeg’s Curse traces our contemporary planetary crisis back to the discovery of the New World and the sea route to the Indian Ocean. The history of the nutmeg is one of conquest and exploitation—of both human life and the natural environment. In Ghosh’s hands, the story of the nutmeg becomes a parable for our environmental crisis, revealing the ways human history has always been entangled with earthly materials such as spices, tea, sugarcane, opium, and fossil fuels. Writing against the backdrop of the global pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests, Ghosh frames these historical stories in a way that connects our shared colonial histories with the deep inequality we see around us today.

Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta and grew up in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He studied in Delhi, Oxford and Alexandria and is the author of The Circle of Reason, The Shadow Lines, In An Antique Land, Dancing in Cambodia, The Calcutta Chromosome, The Glass Palace, The Hungry Tide, and The Ibis Trilogy, consisting of Sea of Poppies, River of Smoke and Flood of Fire. The Great Derangement; Climate Change and the Unthinkable, a work of non-fiction, appeared in 2016. Gun Island, was released in September 2019. Ghosh’s first-ever book in verse, Jungle Nama: A Story of the Sundarban, was published February 2021. His latest book, The Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis, was released in October, 2021.


Special pre-event: The Great Derangement: Writing and Researching Climate Change Narratives

From 2-3pm in Room 3560, join this this moderated conversation about craft, Amitav Ghosh will discuss his process of writing and researching the complex topics contained in his works, including his award-winning environmental novels and his two recent works of research nonfiction, The Great Derangement and The Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis.  Moderated by Debra Marquart, ISU professor in the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Environment.


The ISU Book Store will be at the evening event selling copies of Ghosh's book.

The evening lecture will be available to livestream at this link.