The Green Room Keeps Bringing the World’s Best Environment Writers to Honolulu

Here’s Why You Won’t Want to Miss Richard Powers on Feb. 6.
Richard Powers
PHOTOS: Courtesy of Richard Powers

Author of “The Overstory”—that best-seller about people and their relationship to trees with the amazing plot twist we can’t even hint at because then you’d hate us—Richard Powers will read, talk and discuss his work at the Honolulu Museum of Art and on Maui.


Two U.S. Poet Laureates, Tracy K. Smith and Billy Collins; The English Patient’s Michael Ondaatje; William Finnegan of Barbarian Days; and global warming prophet (1989’s The End of Nature) Bill McKibben: These are just a few of the big literary fish landed by The Green Room, the environmental and literary salon founded by Maui poet (and another laureate) W.S. Merwin and run by the Merwin Conservancy.


If there’s one must-attend event for the bookish in town, this is it. Because the quality of the invitees isn’t the only thing—The Green Room really does pick writers known for their deep love of the planet as well as language.


That Honolulu is the beneficiary of this bounty of writers, though, is also tribute to the large and enthusiastic crowds that have greeted each visitor at each sold-out session. So we recommend you jump on this one, with author Richard Powers


An intellectual heavyweight with works about A.I. (Galatea 2.2) and virtual reality (which he contrasts with the confined reality of a hostage in Beirut in Plowing the Dark), Powers and his new novel, The Overstory, have spawned comparisons to environmental prophet Bill McKibben—whose The End of Nature started as an entire issue of The New Yorker and basically kicked off the climate change debate. Along with novelist predecessors Edward Abbey (The Monkey Wrench Gang) and Barbara Kingsolver (The Bean Trees, Pigs in Heaven, The Poisonwood Bible), Powers has used his storytelling powers to open readers’ minds and hearts, often to taking more responsibility for the health of the planet and, yes, our species.


Kingsolver, in fact, calls The Overstory “a gigantic fable of genuine truths held together by a connective tissue of tender exchange between fictional friends, lovers, parents and children.”

  The Overstory


Powers will appear at the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Doris Duke Theatre at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6. Tickets are $20. On Maui, he will be at the McCoy Studio Theatre in Kahului at 7 p.m., Feb. 8. Click here for more info and tickets.


Doris Duke Theatre, 901 Kīna‘u St.,