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Notable Essays & Shorter Writing

You can read my writing in The Atlantic, 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 often 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. 

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)

The Atlantic

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)

WIRED

The death of a dolphin raises questions about the role of digital technologies in grieving animal extinction.

The LEECH BAROMETER

Granta

"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)

The Atlantic

Could stinging, gelatinous blobs take over the world’s oceans?

Animal Kingdom: Salmon on Psychotropics

The Atlantic

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?

Whale fall

Granta The Best Australian Essays

"The whale as landfill. It was a metaphor, and then it wasn’t."

What Lies Beneath (Review)

The Atlantic

Burrow below the planet's surface, and even there, humanity has left its imprint.

The Bird on the Floor

The Monthly

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)

The Atlantic

Technology has changed the way we surveil ocean creatures, and how we understand whale evolution.

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