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Energy at the End of the World with Laura Watts

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Blackwell's Bookshop Edinburgh

53 - 62 South Bridge

Edinburgh

EH1 1YS

United Kingdom

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Blackwell's are delighted to host writer and academic Laura Watts for the launch of her new book, Energy at the End of the World. Please join us in the bookshop to hear Laura discuss new energy technologies in the remote islands of Orkney, and what we can learn from them.

About the Book

The islands of Orkney, off the northern coast of Scotland, are closer to the Arctic Circle than to London. Surrounded by fierce seas and shrouded by clouds and mist, the islands seem to mark the edge of the known world. And yet they are a center for energy technology innovation, from marine energy to hydrogen fuel networks, attracting the interest of venture capitalists and local communities. In this book, Laura Watts tells a story of making energy futures at the edge of the world.

Orkney, Watts tells us, has been making technology for six thousand years, from arrowheads and stone circles to wave and tide energy prototypes. Artifacts and traces of all the ages—Stone, Bronze, Iron, Viking, Silicon—are visible everywhere. The islanders turned to energy innovation when forced to contend with an energy infrastructure they had outgrown. Today, Orkney is home to the European Marine Energy Centre, established in 2003. There are about forty open-sea marine energy test facilities in the world, many of which draw on Orkney expertise. The islands generate more renewable energy than they use, are growing hydrogen fuel and electric car networks, and have hundreds of locally owned micro wind turbines and a decade-old smart grid. Mixing storytelling and ethnography, empiricism and lyricism, Watts tells an Orkney energy saga—an account of how the islands are creating their own low-carbon future in the face of the seemingly impossible. The Orkney Islands, Watts shows, are playing a long game, making energy futures for another six thousand years.

About the Author

Dr Laura Watts is a poet, writer, ethnographer of futures, and Interdisciplinary Senior Lecturer in Energy and Society in the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh. As a science and technology studies scholar she has explored the effect of “edge” landscapes on how the future is imagined and made. She is coauthor of Ebban an' Flowan, the world's first poetic primer for marine renewable energy, and in 2017 she won the International Cultural Innovation Prize with the Reconstrained Design Group for a community-built energy storage device designed from scrap.

The event will be chaired by astronomer-turned-writer Dr Pippa Goldschmidt. She is currently the writer-in-residence at the University of Edinburgh’s Science, Technology and Innovation Studies unit. She has received a Suffrage Science Award– an award that honours women in science.Her collection of short stories The Need for Better Regulation of Outer Space was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award 2015 and the Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2016. Her novel The Falling Sky was runner-up for the Dundee International Book Prize 2012.

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For more information about the event or if you would like a signed copy because you can't make it to the event, please contact the Blackwell's events team on events.edinburgh@blackwell.co.uk or phone 0131 622 8222.

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Blackwell's Bookshop Edinburgh

53 - 62 South Bridge

Edinburgh

EH1 1YS

United Kingdom

View Map

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