Explore the 2024 Program

Writers Talking Writers: Part 4

Ceridwen Dovey, author of Inner WorldsOuter Spaces, shares a recent read she can't stop thinking about, the new releases she's looking forward to, and what she turned to during quarantine. 

A recent read

A dear friend gave me Julia Baird's Phosphorescence ... and I couldn't have asked for a better gift during this quarantine. I inhaled the book and I'm in awe of the way Julia so artfully looks both out into the world and deep within herself in order to share such hard-won yet gentle wisdom.   

The books you can't wait to read

I recently listened in to a virtual conference, "New Nature", presented by the State Library of NSW and Sydney Review of Books, and really appreciated the insights shared about creative nature-writing (both the possibilities and limitations of the genre) by Evelyn Araluen and James Bradley. Next on my list to read will be James's novel Ghost Species, and I'm really looking forward to reading Evelyn's collection of poetry, Dropbear, when it is published next year.  

A favourite you’ve returned to

I have to admit I hardly ever reread books! There are just so many out there I still want to read ... and so few years, relatively, in which to read them. Maybe it's also because the world always feels a little strange and uncertain to a writer, and the way I deal with that existential dread is to keep seeking out new perspectives on how to deal with this (or not deal with this), which is why I love to read contemporary fiction. Yet I have found myself gravitating towards poetry during the quarantine, as the ideal form for an anxious, distracted time. It's like getting an immediate shot of courage and hope and soul-sustaining beauty. I've been dipping with great pleasure into Paul Kelly's poetry anthology, Love is Strong as Death.

Pop into your local bookshop or check out Gleebooks online to get hold of these wonderful reads. 

Ceridwen Dovey’s recent books include Only the Animals  (“dazzling” – The Guardian), In the Garden of the Fugitives (“an elegant … impressive, thought-provoking novel” – The New York Times), and On J.M. Coetzee: Writers on Writers. She released an Audible Originals novel, Life After Truth, last year. She writes for newyorker.com and The Monthly, and her essays have been selected for The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2018 and The Best Australian Science Writing 2019. Her most recent book, Inner Worlds Outer Spaces: The Working Lives of Others is a collection of profiles of people in unusual careers.