Talk & Signing: Margot Anne Kelley, author of A Gardener at the End of the World

A gardener's pandemic journal that combines memoir with an exploration of the natural world both inside and outside the garden.

In March 2020, Margot Anne Kelley was watching seeds germinate in her greenhouse. At high risk from illness, the planning, planting, and tending to seedlings took on extra significance. She set out to make her pandemic garden thrive but also to better understand the very nature of seeds and viruses.

As seeds became seedlings, became plants, became food, Kelley looks back over the last few millennia as successions of pandemics altered human beings and global culture. Seeds and viruses serve as springboards for wide-ranging reflections, such as their shared need for someone to transport them, the centrality of movement to being alive, and the domestication of plants as an act of becoming co-dependent.

Pandemic viruses only occurred through humankind's settling down, taking up agriculture, and giving up a nomadic life. And yet it's the garden that now provides a refuge and a source of life, inspiration, and hope. A Gardener at the End of the World explores questions of what we can preserve--of history, genetic biodiversity, culture, language--and what we cannot. It is for any reader curious about the overlap of nature, science, and history.


Praise for A Gardener at the End of the World:

"A Gardener at the End of the World serves as both a reflection on the shared experiences of the pandemic and a celebration of the ways in which the human spirit can find solace and growth in nature's embrace."-- Booklist

"Detailed, engaging, and well-researched . . . A well-written chronicle of a gardening year, a pandemic, and their intertwined histories. Will appeal to a broad range of readers." -- Library Journal

"Kelley transforms musings about a gardening hobby into a rich--and richly instructive--historical journey through human history. An eloquent and thought-provoking narrative." -- Kirkus

Margot Anne Kelley is the author Foodtopia: Communities in Pursuit of Peace, Love, & Homegrown Food (also published by Godine). Ms. Kelley has served as the editor of The Maine Review and co-founded a community development corporation which runs a food pantry and community garden, among other programs. Ms. Kelley lives in Port Clyde, Maine.

Event date: 
Monday, May 13, 2024 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Water Street Bookstore
125 Water Street
Exeter, NH 03833
A Gardener at the End of the World By Margot Anne Kelley Cover Image
ISBN: 9781567927344
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: David R. Godine Publisher - April 2nd, 2024