Recently, a Brighter Green–sponsored discussion was held with Lantern Books author Alex Lockwood on WeChat, the popular messaging app used in China. People were able to ask him about his recent book, The Pig in Thin Air and about veganism, animal rights, and activism. Below is the edited transcript of this discussion.
Norm Phelps—the author of four books (The Longest Struggle, The Great Compassion, The Dominion of Love, and Changing the Game), all of which were published by Lantern—died on the last day of last year, less than a year after the passing of Rynn Berry: another writer, independent scholar, and friend of the company. We were proud to be Norm’s publishers and learned a huge amount from his work and his insights. He was an exceptional writer. Not only was his prose clear and passionate, but he presented his manuscripts with the highest degree of professionalism. They were accurately footnoted and properly formatted, which saved us a great deal of time and gave us extra confidence that Norm knew what he was talking about. He received my editorial suggestions gracefully and willingly, again demonstrating how good a writer he was. (In my judgment, those who accept editorial suggestions are usually the best writers; those who refuse to change a word are the worst!)
Most importantly, Norm had something to say—and he did so with compassion as well as passion. He struck us as a very reasonable man: someone not interested in the petty brouhahas that bubble up constantly in the animal advocacy movement. He took the long view and we very much appreciated that. In fact, we thought Changing the Game precisely encapsulated his thesis that animal advocacy needs to place itself within the long arc of social justice movements and not worry about immediate success when other movements took many decades to do so.
We will be forever grateful for Norm’s vocal and demonstrable support for Lantern, which he championed at every opportunity. Norm truly appreciated independence of thought, and put his time and money where his mouth was. He took books seriously. In recent years, illness had hampered Norm’s ability to attend conferences and meet his fans. Our company, the movement, and the world are much enhanced with Norm having been a part of all of them.