CHF 2013: Animal

Jonathan Safran Foer on (Not) Eating Animals

With impending fatherhood, literary wunderkind Jonathan Safran Foer—the celebrated author of Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close—started thinking about the food he was going to feed his son. For this omnivore with vegetarian tendencies, these thoughts soon turned into a quest. He visited industrial farms and “cage-free” chicken coops and began a sustained reflection on the inextricability of food and family. The result was the 2009 bestseller Eating Animals, hailed as an instant classic of the new food writing along with Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation and Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. But the story didn’t end there. Foer’s venture into nonfiction was a life-changing experience for the author, leading to a commitment to vegetarianism and animal rights advocacy. Foer reflects on the writing and reception of Eating Animals and updates us on his family’s alternatives to chicken soup and gefilte fish.

Foer is joined in conversation by Aaron Gross, founder and CEO of Farm Forward, who collaborated heavily with Foer on Eating Animals.

Photo Credit: Gianluca Gentilini

Speakers and Performers

Jonathan Safran Foer

Jonathan Safran Foer is the author of the novels Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, along with the nonfiction title Eating Animals. His work has received numerous awards and has been translated into 36 languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Aaron Gross

Aaron S. Gross is the founder and CEO of Farm Forward and a professor of religion at the University of San Diego. Gross serves on the Humane Society of the United States' Faith Advisory Council and collaborated heavily with Jonathan Safran Foer on Foer’s book Eating Animals. Gross’s new edited volume, Animals and the Human Imagination, provides what Nobel laureate J. M. Coetzee calls "a richly intelligent mapping of the field" of animal studies and proves "accessible—even engrossing—to the ordinary educated reader."

CHF Suggests      Related links and resources for further study

Leaders And Thinkers

Eating Animals
The official website of Foer's latest book

Good Reads

Lunch with Jonathan Safron Foer
The Financial Times shares a meal with the author

Online Resources

The Colbert Report interview
The author talks with Stephen Colbert