We are so thrilled to celebrate the launch of PhD student Jessica Hester’s first book, Sewer, which comes out this Thursday, November 3rd!
Reported in New York, London, Toronto, Portland, Detroit, and elsewhere, the book is short, immersive (and sometimes quite disgusting) narrative nonfiction that digs into what the underground warrens reveal about ecology, public health, and infrastructural ambition, as well as what it takes to steward wastewater in a warmer, wetter world. Jessica asks, What can underground pipes tell us about human eating habits and the spread or containment of disease, such as COVID-19? Why are sewers spitting plastic and trash into waterways? How are pipe clogs getting gnarlier and more numerous? By leading readers through the past, present, and future of the system humans have created to deal with our waste, Jessica argues that sewers offer a mirror to the world above at a time when our behaviors are reshaping the environment for the worse. Come for the science, stay for the scene of Jessica sniffing a fatberg!
Jessica will also have some upcoming events in conjunction with the book. On November 16, she’ll be at the Center for Book Arts in New York with sTo Len, the artist-in-residence at the Department of Sanitation. On November 29, she will be moderating a virtual “state of the sewer” chat with many of the fantastic U.S.-based and international scientists featured in the book. (Thanks to the Brooklyn Public Library for giving them a digital home.) On December 5, there’s an event for the Baltimore and D.C. crew at Bird in Hand bookstore, on the Johns Hopkins campus, where she’ll be in conversation with CityLab’s David Dudley. On January 27, Jessica will be back in New York at P&T Knitwear Books and Podcasts with Wired’s magnificent Angela Chen. More dates and locations to come in Louisville, Chicago, possibly Toronto, and elsewhere! She’ll post details on Twitter and her website. The flyer for the first few events is below. Hope to see you!