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Strandings: A Conversation with Peter Riley

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Online via Zoom


Calling all lovers of whales, genre-defying books, and conversations about culture, climate and psychology! You’re invited to join our virtual event with Peter Riley, the author of the brilliant new work, Strandings, and Upstart & Crow cofounder Zoe Grams.

Settle into a cozy seat at home for a wide-ranging, thoughtful discussion about a book as enthralling as it is original.

This event takes place at 10 a.m. PST (B.C. viewers), or 6 p.m. GMT (U.K. viewers).

In Strandings, author Riley reveals the secretive world of whale scavengers — people who descend on whales that have washed ashore to take its parts. Some scavengers are driven by magical beliefs. Some are motivated by profit: there is a black market for everything from ambergris to whaletooth sex toys. But for others, the need goes much deeper.

In the book, and in this conversation, the fate of whales becomes a metaphor for our greed and continued disconnection to nature. Through stories of whale migration and discovery, we begin to better understand our own history — and future. As Philip Hoare explains, “I doubt anyone will ever match Strandings for its absolute, engulfing, and brilliantly enlivening whaleheadedness.”

Register for a free ticket here. This event will be recorded, and there will be time for audience questions.

We are pleased to co-host this event with Bookbag, an independent bookshop in Exeter, Devon. They stock a select range of books with a local/global feel, pair books with music, and run a range of events from author talks to a book and film club and open mic poetry. Based in the U.K.’s far southwest, close to countryside, moor, national park, sea, and ocean, they have an abundance of nature writers near by.


“With wit and a whale-lover’s passion, Riley explores the cultural and emotional bonds that form between humans and our sea-dwelling, mammalian cousins — both alive and dead. Strandings is at once incisive and funny, personal and historical, gripping and moving.” — Merlin Sheldrake, author of Entangled Life 

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