Diane Wilson is up in Vermont this week, visiting our Chelsea Green offices and touring New England. While in the area she’s been visiting bookstores (she’ll be at Borders in Burlington tonight), speaking to students, and apparently being indicted. We’ve known for some time now that Diane had a 4 month jail sentence pending, since she was charged with trespassing during an action to hold Union Carbide (and its now-parent company Dow) responsible for its notorious chemical spill in Bhopal, India, and pollution worldwide. But everyone was a little surprised when Diane poked her head into a marketing meeting yesterday and announced that her lawyer was on the phone, telling her that her sentence would begin on Friday. It seemed a little curious that the Texas legal system had chosen this moment to put Diane away, immediately after her very public interview on NPR’s Diane Rehm
When library journal ran its “fall editor’s picks” piece, Wilda Williams wrote about Diane: “It’s not often that a publisher has to worry about scheduling a book tour around an author’s jail term, but then Diane Wilson is no ordinary writer.” Wilda was correct in saying that Diane is no ordinary writer, but maybe she was mistaken in her assumption that we would reschedule her author tour around the jail term. That is what a reasonable company would do. But what did Diane say? “I’ll go to jail when (former CEO of Union Carbide) Warren Anderson comes with me!” And what did publisher Margo Baldwin say? “They’ll take Diane over my dead body!”
A few legal questions later, we resolved to keep Diane out of Texas as long as possible, at least until after her keynote address at Bioneers next weekend.