The Decemberists' Colin Meloy Writing First Novel with Swears in It

The children's author's first book for adults is set in "a near-future Oregon wrecked by climate crises and hypercapitalism"

Photo: Kamara Morozuk

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Aug 10, 2023

It's a pirate's life for Colin Meloy. The Decemberists frontman really is a Jack (Sparrow) of all trades, somehow finding time to be a famous touring musician and also write books. Plus, I'm sure he also knows where a bunch of buried treasure is.

Meloy is already a successful children's author with five titles aimed at a younger audience to his name, including the Wildwood series (illustrated by his wife, Carson Ellis), which is currently being adapted into an animated film. Now, the singer-songwriter has announced that he's aiming to publish his first novel for adults in 2025.

As per the Associated Press, the book's working title is Cascadia — perhaps hinting at what would be an incredibly synergistic collaboration with fellow non-land lubbers Said the Whale?

Set in a not-so-distant future, the novel is centred around a protagonist called Barnaby Chambers who sells discarded baby membrane tissue — what a normal sentence I expected to write today — amid falling birth rates, artificial intelligence, climate change and other classic dystopian foibles.

"This story, the story of Barnaby Chambers in a near-future Oregon wrecked by climate crises and hypercapitalism, is one I've wanted to tell for a very long time now," Meloy said in a statement about the book, which he explained on Substack that he started writing in the early depths of the pandemic while reflecting on the first few pages of David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.

"This one's got swears in it, guys," he added on Instagram.

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