Author Event: "Rust Belt Arcana" and "The Way of Coyote"

Join us at City Lit Books on Thursday, November 29th, 2018 at 6:30 pm for a reading with Matt Stansberry, author of Rust Belt Arcana, and Gavin Van Horn, author of The Way of Coyote.

A young bear--The Fool--is cast off from its mother in the spring to wander a fragmented suburban forest, to be harried by dogs and traffic, chased through golf courses and farms. An ocean-going trout climbs industrial, sewage-tainted rivers in the Midwest. The river is both sick and healthy, the trout, understood here as The Magician, is both wild and made. What does the Tarot have to tell us about the flora and fauna of the industrial Midwest? Rust Belt Arcana uses this time-tested structure to explain, juxtaposing the characteristics of the cards of the Tarot's Major Arcana to the creatures and plants around us. The idiosyncratic essays that result connect biology and natural history to the human condition; they are stories of abundance and loss, limning the persistent remnant wilderness of the Rust Belt. Exploring this natural history helps us to see beauty in a beleaguered landscape often dismissed as unremarkable, and to define our remarkable place in it. By Matt Stansberry, with illustrations by David Wilson.

“Original and insightful. A vivid exploration of the beauty and brokenness of life’s community. Stansberry’s writing reveals the many surprising ecological, psychological, and cultural connections among human and beyond-human lives.” --David George Haskell, author of The Songs of Trees and Pulitzer finalist for The Forest Unseen

Matt Stansberry was born in Akron, Ohio and graduated from Kent State University. He writes about the intersection of natural history and myth. Matt spent six years in Oregon writing about wild trout and salmon and advocating for sustainable fisheries management. He currently lives in North Carolina with his wife and three sons. Find him on Twitter @LakeErieFlyFish.

A hiking trail through majestic mountains. A raw, unpeopled wilderness stretching as far as the eye can see. These are the settings we associate with our most famous books about nature. But Gavin Van Horn isn’t most nature writers. He lives and works not in some perfectly remote cabin in the woods but in a city—a big city. With The Way of Coyote, Gavin Van Horn reveals the stupendous diversity of species that can flourish in urban landscapes like Chicago. Part urban nature travelogue, part philosophical reflection on the role wildlife can play in waking us to a shared sense of place and fate, The Way of Coyote is a deeply personal journey that questions how we might best reconcile our own needs with the needs of other creatures in our shared urban habitats.

"An awareness and appreciation for urban wildlife is an important part of world conservation efforts. Van Horn writes eloquently and with insight about the creatures that live among us--and, perhaps, why we should help them flourish. Highly recommended." --Jeff VanderMeer, author of the Southern Reach Trilogy

Gavin Van Horn is the director of Cultures of Conservation for the Center for Humans and Nature, a nonprofit organization that focuses on and promotes conservation ethics. He is the coeditor of City Creatures: Animal Encounters in the Chicago Wilderness and Wildness: Relations of People and Place, and he writes for, edits, and curates the City Creatures blog at He lives in Evanston, IL.

Event date: 
Thursday, November 29, 2018 - 6:30pm
Event address: 
City Lit Books
2523 N. Kedzie Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60647
Rust Belt Arcana: Tarot and Natural History in the Exurban Wilds Cover Image
By Matt Stansberry, David Wilson (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781948742122
Availability: Out of stock, usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Belt Publishing - October 30th, 2018

The Way of Coyote: Shared Journeys in the Urban Wilds Cover Image
ISBN: 9780226441580
Availability: Out of stock, usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: University of Chicago Press - October 5th, 2018