Julian Aguon & Nina Mingya Powles: Making Environmental Politics Personal

Julian Aguon has witnessed first-hand the impact of globalisation and colonialism on the island of Guam in the Western Pacific. In a bid to support the struggles of peoples across Oceania, the human rights lawyer has founded Blue Ocean Law, working at the intersection of Indigenous rights and environmental justice. The Properties of Perpetual Lights is a memoir-cum-manifesto featuring searing analyses of a range of issues including American nuclear weapons deployment and non-consensual medical experiments in the region.

In this event, filmed live at the 2021 Edinburgh International Book Festival, Aguon joined remotely from Guam to discuss his life and work and Nina Mingya Powles, an award-winning writer and publisher from Aotearoa New Zealand joined live on stage in the venue.

Powles won the inaugural Nan Shepherd Prize for Nature Writing in 2019 and as part of the Prize, Scottish publisher Canongate published a book of her writing. Small Bodies of Water mixes memoir with beautiful portrayals of the natural world in a series of luminous essays that move from London to Shanghai and Malaysia. Both writers bring a fascinating perspective on a world where the personal and the political intertwine.

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