The weather of words

Published : Wednesday, October 26, 2011 | Label:

Australia’s Wild Weather—a book of photographs from the National Library of Australia’s archive accompanied by a lyric essay from me about the weather of Australia, and how it makes us who we think we are, and how that weather is changing—is just about out. Pub date is 1 November 2011. There seems to be a lot of interest in it. I’m grateful to the NLA for asking me to write it; they’ve done a fabulous job of designing it.

Listen out for news of the book on radio and in the papers.

Here’s what the media release says about the book.

MARRYING photographs from the collection of the National Library with an
evocative and contemplative essay, Australia’s Wild Weather is a lyric
field guide to Australian cloud play and rainfall, wind and light, storm and
calm, hail and snow, cyclone and dust storm, drought and flood, and fire.

Mark Tredinnick asks us to look at our assumptions about weather. We are a
stable people on a stable continent, whose weather is not, in fact,
uncommonly wild, and perhaps we tell ourselves stories of meteorological
disaster (narrowly and bravely survived) to reassure ourselves we’re real. But
Australian identity is without question an adaptation to habitual drought.
Drought is in our nature. It’s in the way we speak and in the way we get
about our lives - undemonstrative, dry, imperturbable. As if we had three
years at best. As if emotion was a scarce resource. As if beauty was always
suspect and unreliable …

These are times in which, of course, weather is no longer small talk; it is
most of the news. Mark Tredinnick contemplates with quiet urgency what it
means to be living at what may be the beginning of the end of the weather
we have known. Magnificently illustrated, of course.

And I’m delighted to announce that Bob Brown will launch it on 8 December at the NLA, in Canberra. Watch this space for more news of that.


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