Nicole Walker is the author of Processed Meats: Essays on Food, Flesh and Navigating Disaster (2021) Sustainability: A Love Story (2018) and the collaborative collection The After-Normal: Brief, Alphabetical Essays on a Changing Planet. (2019). She has previously published the books Where the Tiny Things Are (2017), Egg (2017), Micrograms (2016), Quench Your Thirst with Salt (2013), and This Noisy Egg (2010). She edited for Bloomsbury the essay collections Science of Story (2019) with Sean Prentiss and Bending Genre: Essays on Creative Nonfiction (2013) with Margot Singer. She is the co-president of NonfictioNOW and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts award and a noted author in Best American Essays. Her work has been most recently published in the New York Times, Longreads, and Manifest-Station. She teaches at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ. You can find her website at


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In the episode we talk about:

  • The nonfiction genre feeling particularly apt for the time that  we’re living in
  • Star Trek and approximating an “extra inch of brain stuff” by examining things in writing
  • The connecting point of imagination, drawing threads between two ideas as a way to enter braided essays
  • The collaborative nature of writing, and writing & editing as a paired job
  • The “bird’s eye” view of an editor and how the work of a good editor can elevate writing
  • The idea that climate justice is racial justice
  • The human capacity to care more about each other than personal freedoms
  • Science as a lens to examine the world
  • Tinkering as a process crossing over from science to writing
  • Nicole’s current project examining the privilege and trauma of moving, and how it ties into climate change
  • The constant feeling that we should be doing more
  • Find Nicole online at / Twitter & Facebook
  • Read stories people shared during the pandemic as part of the How We Are project at

Visit us online at and visit Under the Gum Tree at Follow Under the Gum Tree Twitter and Instagram @undergumtree. Follow me on Twitter @justjanna and @jannamarlies on Instagram.

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