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Notable Essays & Shorter Writing
You can read my writing in The Atlantic, The New York Review of Books, Emergence, Granta, The New York Times Magazine, Griffith Review, and elsewhere online. I tend to be drawn to stories at the intersection of culture and ecology. I am particularly interested in how our relationships to animals — historical and modern — illuminate shifting attitudes towards ideas like cruelty, connectedness and exceptionalism. My favourite type of story starts with a scientific finding, but leads off into literature, philosophy, art and observation. If I'm writing about nature, it might equally be through a kitsch, artificial object like astroturf, or via a snail in the garden; or it could be a subject as vast as a whale.
My work has been anthologised in collections including Best Australian Essays and Best Australian Science Writing. Below is a selection.
The Sea, The Sea (review)
The New York Review of Books
On Rachel Carson's Sea Trilogy
Blaming our inner ape (review)
How primate research was hijacked by sexist ideologues
The plight of the bogong moth migration in alpine Australia
A better way to look at trees (review)
What pioneering new research has revealed about the forest
Listening to birdsong through the pandemic
The Guardian and anthologised here
Part of a series "Fire, Flood and Plague: Australian authors respond to the crises of 2020"
WHY We're afraid of bats (REVIEW)
How we know — and how we learn — what animals to fear.
Letter of Recommendation: Snails
New York Times Magazine
On keeping snails during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tragedy of Charisma (book excerpt)
The death of a dolphin raises questions about the role of digital technologies in grieving animal extinction.
The LEECH BAROMETER
"To be consumed by leeches is to be vital, to be animate, though it is also to be reminded you are something else’s prey, and therefore porous and mortal."
Imagining The Jellyfish apocalypse (review)
Could stinging, gelatinous blobs take over the world’s oceans?
Animal Kingdom: Salmon on Psychotropics
Human pharmaceuticals are polluting waterways — and freshwater animals are swimming in a cocktail of our drugs.
Letter of Recommendation: ASTROTURF
New York Times Magazine
Lawns are hardly natural. Why not go all the way?
Granta & The Best Australian Essays
"The whale as landfill. It was a metaphor, and then it wasn’t."
What Lies Beneath (Review)
Burrow below the planet's surface, and even there, humanity has left its imprint.
The Bird on the Floor
Helen Pynor’s bio-art explores life after death.
Animal Kingdom: Bovine Friends Forever
The Atlantic & Best Australian Science Writing
Cows need friends to be happy, but modern farms deprive them of meaningful companionship.
Giants of the deep (Review)
Technology has changed the way we surveil ocean creatures, and how we understand whale evolution.
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