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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

May 12, 2023

Mark interviews Denise Baden, Professor of Sustainable Practice at the University of Southampton, UK, about her eco-themed writing, and the Green Writing Project which she initially set up in 2018.

Prior to the interview, Mark shares comments from recent episodes and a word about this episode's sponsor.

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During their conversation, Mark and Denise talk about:

  • Denise's varied background in a number of different areas, including being a sales rep for cookbooks
  • How a work of fiction (the satirical thriller STARK by Ben Elton) was what inspired Denise to become a "Greeny"
  • Teaching in the area of sustainability and how Denise's nature is not necessarily suited to academia
  • How "narrative transporation" allows a reader, when immersed in a story to take on the thoughts and feelings of a character
  • The way that talking about catasotrophy and spreading fear doesn't necessarily inspire people into positive behaviors
  • Studies of how people react to negative/distopian fiction pieces as opposed to ones that focus on positive action or behavior
  • Denise's worry about eco-anxiety
  • The books that Denise has written that include elements of climate solutions
  • How almost 90% of readers adopted at least one of the solutions that were presented through character behavior in the stories
  • The Green Stories Project that Denise first set up in 2018 and the various prizes associated with the free contest
  • Being approached by Herculean Climate Solutions to produce an anthology collaboratively (No More Fairy Tales: Stories to Save the Planet)
  • Natural Burial, why it's important and a bit about how it works
  • Looking at existing properties, such as comparing James Bond to Jack Reacher, and the way the two characters behave in significantly different ways in relation to sustainability and high or low carbon behavior
  • How it's not policy or govertment mandates that will get us out of this ecological mess, but that it's the culture and behavior of the average person that will
  • And more...

After the interview, Mark reflects on the power of fiction to change the world, and shares a personal story of how reading two different novels dramatically changed and impacted his own life.


Links of Interest:



Denise Baden is a Professor of Sustainable Practice at the University of Southampton, UK. She has published widely in the academic realm and also in fiction. Her eco-themed rom-com ‘Habitat Man’ was published in 2021, followed by ‘the Assassin’ and ‘No More Fairy Tales: Stories to Save the Planet’ in 2022. Her most recent research explores the use of storytelling to promote green behaviours, looking at how readers respond to eco-themed stories. In 2018, Denise set up the Green Stories Writing project that challenges writers to embed green solutions in their stories via a series of free writing competitions. These are open to all, and 17 competitions have been run so far, which have resulted in several publications. Denise is listed on the Forbes list of Climate Leaders Changing the Film and TV industry and speaks regularly on how to write for a cause.


The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0