The Next Chapter

David Huebert considers the beauty behind climate change in his debut short story collection

While talking about his short story collection, Peninsula Sinking, he explains how that which is damaging is not necessarily ugly.
In Peninsula Sinking, David Huebert brings readers an assortment of Maritimers caught between the places they love and the siren call of elsewhere. (Mike Kalimin/Biblioasis)

David Huebert won the CBC Short Story Prize in 2016 and published his debut collection of stories, Peninsula Sinking, the following year. Peninsula Sinking considers our relationship with the natural world and the changing environment.

Learning to accept change

"Peninsula Sinking consists of eight stories set in Nova Scotia. It's about the particular experience of living in the province and experiencing the decline that's happening there. The book is also about a love for ecosystems there that also face decline through climate change. There's a lot of panic that can be stirred up around climate change, but I try to look at it as something potentially beautiful. It might not be the most beneficial change for humans but some other forms of life could benefit. Change means something is going to happen next, it might be something that we can't even begin to imagine at this point."

A love for the ocean

"Peninsula Sinking spends a lot of time pining for the ocean, which is one part of myself that I put in the book. Now that I'm living in Ontario, I feel deeply compelled by Nova Scotia, especially the ocean. I miss the sound of it and the smell of it. I miss being able to walk outside to look at it and I miss the way it enters the air, overtaking your sense of being. I even sleep better when I'm close to the ocean; it's something about the pulse of the water. I think part of what allowed me to write this book was being away from the ocean. I'm not sure the ocean would have become such a powerfully imaginative place for me if I had been immersed in it."

David Huebert's comments have been edited and condensed.