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Literary Collections Essays

Listening to the Bees

by (author) Mark Winston & Renée Sarojini Saklikar

Nightwood Editions
Initial publish date
Apr 2018
Essays, Insects & Spiders, Essays
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2018
    List Price

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Where to buy it


Listening to the Bees is a collaborative exploration by two writers to illuminate the most profound human questions: Who are we? Who do we want to be in the world?

Through the distinct but complementary lenses of science and poetry, Mark Winston and Renée Saklikar reflect on the tension of being an individual living in a society, and about the devastation wrought by overly intensive management of agricultural and urban habitats.

Listening to the Bees takes readers into the laboratory and out to the field, into the worlds of scientists and beekeepers, and to meetings where the research community intersects with government policy and business. The result is an insiders’ view of the way research is conducted—its brilliant potential and its flaws—along with the personal insights and remarkable personalities experienced over a forty-year career that parallels the rise of industrial agriculture.

About the authors

Mark Winston is the recipient of the 2015 Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-fiction for his book Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive. One of the world’s leading experts on bees and pollination, Dr. Winston is also an internationally recognized researcher, teacher and writer. He directed Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue for twelve years, where he founded the Centre’s Semester in Dialogue.

Mark Winston's profile page

Renée Saklikar’s ground-breaking poetry book about the bombing of Air India Flight 182, children of air india, won the Canadian Authors Association Prize for Poetry and was shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. Her book Listening to the Bees, co-authored with Dr. Mark Winston, won the 2019 Gold Medal Independent Publishers Book Award, Environment/Ecology. Trained as a lawyer, Saklikar is an instructor for Simon Fraser University and Vancouver Community College. She was the first Poet Laureate for the City of Surrey, (2015–2018) and was the 2017 UBC Okanagan Writer in Residence. Co-founder and curator of the poetry series Lunch Poems at SFU, Renée has seen her work adapted for opera, visual art and dance. Renée serves on the boards of Turning Point Ensemble, Poetry Canada, the Surrey International Writers Conference and The Ormbsy Review. Passionate about storytelling, Renée offers writing coach services and loves helping others find their creative voice. She recently developed Writing To Heal Your Life, an online course geared to help creative people in precarious times.

Renée Sarojini Saklikar's profile page


  • Winner, Independent Publisher Book Awards (Environment/Ecology) - GOLD MEDAL

Editorial Reviews

“For those uninspired by the cotton-candy clichés of summer reading, an army of science writers stand by ready to divert you. What they are pedaling is not fluff but wonder - and a chance to pause and look at the world differently. A case in point is Listening to the Bees, a unique collaboration that features the work of Vancouver Science writer Mark Winston and Renée Saklikar, Poet Laureate for Surrey, B.C.”-

Globe and Mail

“The book is easy to dip into, like a jar of honey on the breakfast table, but something about it sticks long after the page is turned.”

Globe and Mail

“This book invites the reader to consider the nature of bees, the science behind beekeeping, and the links between humans and the natural world. Poems interspersed with history and science really highlight the way humans make sense of the world in which we live.” -Green Teacher, winter 2019

Green Teacher

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