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Rebecca Giggs

Rebecca Giggs is an award-winning author from Perth, Australia.

Rebecca writes about how people feel toward animals in a time of ecological crisis and technological change.


Her debut nonfiction book, Fathoms: The World in the Whale, came out in 2020 with Simon & Schuster (US), and Scribe (Aus/UK). In the US Fathoms was awarded the prestigious 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. The book also listed as a finalist in the Kirkus Prize and the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. In Australia, Fathoms won the 2020 Mark and Evette Moran Nib Prize for Literature, the Royal Zoological Society's Whitley Award for Popular Zoology, and the WA Premier's Prize for an Emerging Writer. It was also shortlisted for the 2021 Stella Prize — Australia's most renown award for writing by women and non-binary authors in any genre. Recently the book was distinguished by being 'Highly Commended' in the shortlist for the 2021 Wainwright Prize for Writing on Global Conservation.

Rebecca's essays and articles have appeared in Best Australian Science Writing and Best Australian Essays, as well as in The AtlanticGranta, The New York Times Magazine, and Griffith Review. Her topics span jellyfish swarms, how sea-turtles fare in heatwaves, the history of leeches as weather prediction devices, and whether cows have friends. 

The unceded, sovereign lands Rebecca principally writes on, in Australia, are within the Whadjuk region of Noongar country — land that is, and always was, Aboriginal.  

The Australia Council for the Arts (OzCo), the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (WA), and the Copyright Agency Limited have provided support for some of the creative projects that appear on this website.

The Book

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“There is a kind of hauntedness in wild animals today: a spectre related to environmental change ... Our fear is that the unseen spirits that move in them are ours.”

When writer Rebecca Giggs encountered a humpback whale stranded on her local beachfront in Australia, she began to wonder how the lives of whales reflect the condition of our oceans. Fathoms: The World in the Whale blends natural history, philosophy, and science to explore: How do whales experience ecological change? How has whale culture been both understood and altered by human technology? What can observing whales teach us about the complexity, splendour, and fragility of life?

In Fathoms, we learn about whales so rare they have never been named, whale songs that sweep across hemispheres in annual waves of popularity, and whales that have modified the chemical composition of our planet’s atmosphere. We travel to Japan to board the ships that hunt whales and delve into the deepest seas to discover how plastic pollution pervades our earth’s undersea environment.

In the spirit of Rachel Carson and Rebecca Solnit, Giggs gives us a vivid exploration of the natural world even as she addresses what it means to write about nature at a time of environmental crisis. With depth and clarity, Giggs outlines the challenges we face as we attempt to understand the perspectives of other living beings, and our own place on an evolving planet. Evocative and inspiring, Fathoms marks the arrival of an essential new voice.

Robert Moor 

New York Times Bestselling author of On Trails: An Exploration

A work of bright and careful genius.

Fathoms on ABC TV's The Drum
Fathoms at Sydney Writers' Festival

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For Rebecca's agent, please contact Bonnie Nadell

Tel: 310. 860. 9605 |

For US media requests, please contact Anne Tate Pearce at Simon & Schuster 

For Australian media requests, please contact Cora Roberts at Scribe Australia

Tel: +61 3 9388 8780 |

Please note that I cannot assist with academic assignments. I limit the time I spend on email, so I may not get to answer all inquiries — apologies. 

Image Credit: Sophie Davidson, 2022

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