N. K. Jemisin: Building Our World Better

Bartels World Affairs Lecture

Fantasy author N. K. Jemisin discusses how she learned to build unreal worlds by studying our own—and how we might in turn imagine a better future for our world, and reshape it to fit that dream.

Jemisin’s lecture kicks off The Future—a new Global Grand Challenge at Cornell. We invite thinkers across campus to use their imaginations to reach beyond the immediate, the tangible, the well-known constraints. How can we use our creativity to plan and build for a future that is equitable, sustainable, and good? Learn more on October 4.

After her talk, Jemisin joins a panel of distinguished Cornell faculty to explore how we can take a brave leap into the visionary future. What can we collectively achieve when we focus on “what we want,” rather than “what I can do”? And when we’ve imagined a better future for our world, how do we chart the path—starting today—with practical steps to take us there?

Anindita Banerjee, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, College of Arts and SciencesJohn Albertson, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of EngineeringKaushik Basu, Carl Marks Professor of International Studies, Professor of Economics, A&S***

A reception with refreshments will follow the lecture and panel.

Lecture: 5:30 | Rhodes Rawlings Auditorium, Klarman HallThe Future panel, featuring Jemisin and Cornell faculty: 6:15Reception and book signing: 7:00-8:00 | Groos Family AtriumFree ticket required for in-person attendance. The lecture will also be livestreamed (link to come).

Reserve your free ticket today (link to come).


Read The Fifth Season

“Who misses what they have never, ever even imagined?”—The Fifth Season

At the end of the world, a woman must hide her secret power and find her kidnapped daughter in this “intricate and extraordinary” Hugo Award–winning novel of power, oppression, and revolution. —New York Times

Meet N. K. Jemisin and get your copy signed at the reception!


About N. K. Jemisin

N. K. Jemisin is the first author in the science fiction genre’s history to win three consecutive Best Novel Hugo Awards, for her Broken Earth trilogy. Her work has also won the Nebula and Locus Awards. She was a 2020 MacArthur Fellow. Jemisin’s most frequent themes include resistance to oppression, the inseverability of the liminal, and the coolness of Stuff Blowing Up. She has been an advocate for the long tradition of science fiction and fantasy as political resistance and previously championed the genre as a New York Times book reviewer. She lives and works in New York City.


About Global Grand Challenges at Cornell

Global Grand Challenges bring together Cornell’s world-class strengths—vision, expertise, people, and resources—in a multiyear focus to understand humanity’s most urgent challenges and create real-world solutions. Global Cornell organizes resources for research collaborations, courses and academic programs, student experiences, campus events, and more. Cornell’s first Global Grand Challenge is Migrations, launched in 2019.


About the Bartels World Affairs Lecture

The Bartels World Affairs Lecture is a signature event of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. This flagship event brings distinguished international figures to campus each academic year to speak on global topics and meet with Cornell faculty and students, particularly undergraduates. The lecture and related events are made possible by the generosity of Henry E. Bartels ’48 and Nancy Horton Bartels ’48.

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