The Quickening Elizabeth Rush Mill City Museum

"The Quickening" by Elizabeth Rush Author Event


704 South 2nd St.
Minneapolis, MN 55401
United States



About This Event

Milkweed Editions, Mill City Museum, and The Great Northern Festival are pleased to present an evening centered on collective storytelling, motherhood, and local and global climate activism with The Quickening author Elizabeth Rush. 

“An immersive journey through both exterior and interior landscapes, deftly crossing the boundaries between the frigid Antarctic and the warm heart.”—ROBIN WALL KIMMERER

Milkweed Editions, Mill City Museum, and The Great Northern are thrilled to welcome Elizabeth Rush to celebrate her latest book The Quickening—an astonishing, vital work about Antarctica, climate change, and motherhood from the author of Rising, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction.

Rush will be joined by leaders of climate activism in the Twin Cities to discuss the power of collective storytelling and community—both locally and globally—in facing climate crisis. The evening will feature a reading from The Quickening, photographs of Antarctica from Rush’s voyage, as well as a conversation with Analyah Schlaeger dos Santos and Margaret Cherne-Hendrick complete with views of the Mississippi River at Mill City Museum. Books will be for sale after the event. 

Elizabeth Rush is the author of The Quickening: Creation and Community at the Ends of the Earth and Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Rush’s work has appeared in a wide range of publications from the New York Times to Orion and Guernica. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Science Foundation, National Geographic, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Howard Foundation, the Andrew Mellon Foundation and the Metcalf Institute. She lives with her husband and son in Providence, Rhode Island, where she teaches creative nonfiction at Brown University.

Analyah Schlaeger dos Santos is the environmental justice-oriented youth program coordinator with Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light. Her work focuses on designing and running an ongoing youth program that is structured around youth leadership, advocacy, and environmental justice principles in North Minneapolis. She works with youth to implement energy efficiency programs and improvements in their communities and congregations. She also helps to bring youth to the state level to engage with environmental policies such as the Green New Deal, and other environmental justice policy work. Analyah is a native of North Minneapolis and also spent a few years living in east Atlanta, GA.

Margaret Cherne-Hendrick steers Fresh Energy’s work to invest its capacity and use highest-leverage strategies to equitably decarbonize our economy through the transition of end-uses currently served by fossil fuels to efficient, equitable, carbon-free electricity and low- and zero-carbon fuels, with particular focus on shaping strategic growth and innovation across the organization. Margaret also leads Fresh Energy’s strategic imperative to create a carbon-neutral economy by 2050 through high-impact integrated solutions.

Milkweed Editions is an independent publisher of literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry whose mission is to identify, nurture, and publish transformative literature, and build an engaged community around it.

The Great Northern Festival is a proud promotional partner for this event. The Great Northern celebrates Minnesota’s cold, creative winters through ten days of diverse programming that invigorate mind and body. In an era of changing climate that threatens their signature season, The Great Northern seeks to create community, to inspire action, and to share the resilient spirit of the North with the world. The 2024 festival will take place Jan 25—Feb 4.

Praise for The Quickening: 

The Quickening, Elizabeth Rush’s new work of nonfiction, reframes the end of the world—geographical and climatological. [. . .] Alongside recitations of the science as well as meditations of a much more personal nature, the intrepid reader is treated to prose that lifts Rush’s work far above standard journalism.”—Lorraine Berry, Los Angeles Times

“Elizabeth Rush’s The Quickening is one part memoir, one part reporting from the edge—think Elizabeth Kolbert's The Sixth Extinction—a book that feels as though it was written from the brink. In this case the extreme scenario is literal: Rush, a journalist, joins a crew of scientists aboard a ship headed for a glacier in Antarctica that is, like much of the poles, rapidly disappearing. The book brings the environmental crisis into a personal sphere, asking what it means to have a child in the face of such catastrophic change. [. . .] Rush writes with clarity and precision, giving a visceral sense of everything from the gear required to traverse an arctic landscape to the interior landscape of a woman facing change both global and immediate.”Vogue, “Most Anticipated Books of 2023”

“[The Quickening is] a distinctive addition to the Antarctic canon. [. . .] Rush centers women’s voices in her exploration of motherhood and the Earth, gliding between her personal reflections, descriptions of life aboard the ship and stories of what comes after. Simultaneously lyrical and analytical, The Quickening depicts Rush’s search for meaning while rejecting easy answers.”BookPage, starred review

“[The Quickening] offers an exploration story that is also a literature of community, as attentive to the cooks and the marine techs as it is to the scientists whose work they support. [. . .] Ultimately Rush determines that the work of parenting, like the floating village of people studying the glacier, is paving the way for other, better futures.”—Rachel Riederer, Scientific American

“In The Quickening, Elizabeth Rush takes readers to the precipice of the climate crisis. Aboard the Nathaniel B. Palmer, an American icebreaker, Rush and a crew of scientists, journalists, and support staff set bow and stern in front of Thwaites Glacier for the first time in history [. . .] The Quickening is a poignant, necessary addition to the body of Antarctic literature, one that centers—without glorifying—motherhood, uncertainty, community, vulnerability, and beauty in a rapidly melting world.”—Science

“In this follow-up to the Pulitzer-nominated Rising, Elizabeth Rush watches the world melt. Chronicling a months-long journey to the Thwaites glacier in Antarctica, she and a group of scientists study how climate change is changing our planet—and what this means for our future. But she’s also thinking about her own future: she wants to become a mother. But is it ethical to bring a kid into the world right now? This, and many other salient questions, propel the book.”The Millions, “Most Anticipated Books of 2023”

“Elizabeth Rush takes readers along as she documents the 2019 Thwaites Glacier expedition in Antarctica. The voyage had 57 scientists, researchers and recorders onboard to document the groundbreaking glacier, which has never been visited by humans. [. . .] Rush ties her findings of the Thwaites Glacier expedition to raising kids and living in a quickly changing world.”—WBUR, “8 Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List”

“Rush’s reporting is top-notch, and her personal reflections make this an unusually intimate account of climate change. Readers will find plenty to ponder.”—Publishers Weekly

“The fascinating inside story of climate science at the edge of Antarctica [. . .] In this follow-up to Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, Rush shows us how data collection happens, capturing the intriguing details of climate science in the field [. . .] The scientists are not the only heroes of Rush’s book, which emphasizes above all the collaborative and interdependent nature of such voyages, where so much depends on the staff and crew. In addition to her own poetic voice, the author incorporates the voices of everyone on the ship, highlighting women and racial and ethnic minorities, who have been overlooked in the canon of Antarctic literature.”—Kirkus Reviews

"An astonishing, vital book about Antarctica, climate change, and motherhood from the author of Rising, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction."—Next Big Idea Club

"In 2019, a group of scientists set out for Thwaites Glacier, which has the ominous nickname of Doomsday Glacier, in the Antarctic. It had never been visited before by humans, and the goal was to gather as much information as possible. The glacier itself is suspected to be deteriorating, which could have catastrophic effects on sea levels. Rush not only documents the scientific journey and gives voice to various crew members, but also explores what it means to bring a new life into the world, as she starts to contemplate motherhood in the time of climate change."—Book Riot

“The Quickening took me on an immersive journey through both exterior and interior landscapes, deftly crossing the boundaries between the frigid Antarctic and the warm heart. Elizabeth Rush’s writing is multilayered, from fascinating scientific accounts to intimate human stories and deep examinations of how we live deliberately in a melting world.”—Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass

Event Type:
  • Lectures & Talks



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