Margaret River Press

"A superb and necessary anthology of literature, images and commentary on our relationship to fire in its many manifestations. The works collected here are confronting, challenging, vital and also healing. We witness the destructive effects of fire, but also the visionary and pragmatic role it plays in our lives. These contradictions are often expressed through pain and respect. Editor Delys Bird and Margaret River Press have given us a landmark book that is much needed in these times, and will be much discussed."  John Kinsella 

Twenty five works make up this collection.

Playwright David Milroy's story, Walardu and Karla, draws on an Aboriginal legend of Karla, the fire that ‘had burned for more than twenty years.’

Poet Miriam Wei Wei Lo explores several ways in which fire informs people's lives, both literally and symbolically, across different cultural contexts and times.

Paul Hetherington’s poem Bushfire captures 'the aftermath of fire,' where 'nights [are] charred with recollection.'

Sharon Tassicker, Curator at the Janet Holmes à Court Gallery at Vasse Felix, shares a selection of art works from their 2013 fire exhibition that illustrate some of the myriad qualities, associations, symbols and emotions that fire generates from Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal perspectives.

Mike Rumble's photographic essay recalls both 'the natural beauty and power of the fire' and the recovery of the bush after fire.

These are just some of the rich and diverse range of responses to fire contained in the poetry, fiction and visual material in this anthology. Some refer to contemporary events and are often realistic; others use legend, history and memory in their work.

Part of the profit from this publication will be donated to Volunteer Fire Associations in recognition of their outstanding and heroic community service.

Cassandra Atherton is a writer and lecturer in Literary Studies and Professional and Creative Writing at Deakin University. Her publications include a book of literary criticism, Flashing Eyes and Floating Hair: A Study of Gwen Harwood’s Pseudonymous Poetry (Australian Scholarly Press, 2007), a book of poetry, After Lolita (Ahadada Press, 2010), and a novel, The Man Jar (Printed Matter Press, 2010).

Miranda Aitken has had work published in indigo, 1 & 6 and several Australian anthologies including Scintillae 2012. Her poetry was Highly Commended in the Tom Collins Poetry Prize 2006. Miranda is in her final year of a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and Writing at ECU Southwest. She lives in Margaret River, works at the local bookshop and experienced the fire of 2011.

Sean Blocksidge is a local Margaret River resident and is the owner operator of the Margaret River Discovery Company. Sean is a Margaret River volunteer fire fighter. His photos in the collection were taken during the 2011 Margaret River bush fires.

Aksel Dadswell is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts with a major in writing and literature at Edith Cowan University in Bunbury. He has won a number of awards including the John Marsden Poetry & Short Story Prize for Young Australian.

Claire Wren Dunn is a freelance journalist, barefoot explorer and writer based in the Hunter Valley of NSW. She is currently working on a memoir My Wild Heart about the year she lived in the bush without matches.

Brooke Dunnell has had her work published in Meanjin, Westerly, New Australian Stories and Best Australia Stories. Read our conversation with Brooke.

Jo Gardiner lives in the Blue Mountains. Her novel The Concerto Inn was published by UWA Press in 2006.

Carmel Macdonald Grahame has had her work published in Westerly, Southerly, and Quadrant among other literary journals — short fiction, essays and poetry.

Paul Hetherington lives in Canberra, having spent much of his life in Western Australia. He has previously published seven full-length collections of poetry, including the verse novel, Blood and Old Belief and two poetry chapbooks. His poetry has won a number of prizes and is part of the online Australian Poetry Library. He was one of the founding editors of the online journal Axon: Creative Explorations (2011–). He is Associate Professor of Writing at the University of Canberra.

Peter Hill is a visual artist who lives near the southwest town of Northcliffe in Western Australia. How we as people relate to the history of this land, our connection, interests Peter and is the main influence in his recent artworks.

Pam Hoyne and her husband have a six-acre bush block at Redgate in Margaret River. Pam’s photographs were taken on their property shortly after the fires and were selected for a fire exhibition in Margaret River in December 2012. Pam’s main interest is in photographing wildlife, the beauty of nature and recording family events.

Janet Jackson's publications include a collection (Coracle, 2009), zines and chapbooks including q finger (PressPress), and a micro-collection in Performance Poets (forthcoming, Fremantle Press).

Judy Johnson has published three poetry collections, a verse novel Jack and a novel The Secret Fate of Mary Watson. Jack won the Victorian Premier’s Award for Poetry and her second collection Nomadic won the Wesley Michel Wright Prize. Individual poems have won major prizes, including the Josephine Ulrick, Val Vallis, Bruce Dawe and John Shaw Neilson.

Michelle Leber is an award-winning poet, based in Melbourne. Her work has been published in The Age, Sydney Sun Herald, Meanjin, Southerly and The Best Australian Poems in 2009 and 2010 (Black Inc). She won the Bayside Poets Prize in 2011.

Beverley Lello won first prize in four short story competitions in 2011/2012: Albury City Short Story Competition, the Stringybark Fiction Award, Margaret River Short Story Competition and the Country Style Short Story Competition. Her poem, Crossing the Nullarbor was published in fourW twenty-two in 2011

Miriam Wei Wei Lo As she approaches 40, Miriam is more certain than ever that what she wants out of art is meaning and beauty. Miriam studied writing at the universities of Western Australia and Queensland. Her first poetry collection Against Certain Capture won the 2005 WA Premier’s Prize. Her collection No Pretty Words was published by Picaro Press in 2010. She has lived in Margaret River, with her family, for nearly five years and hopes that something of the place is beginning to show in her writing.

Donna Mazza is the coordinator of the Bachelor of Arts program at ECU South West. She was awarded the TAG Hungerford Award for her novel The Albanian which was published by Fremantle Press in 2007.

Rachel Mead’s short collection of poems, Sliding down the belly of the world, was published by Wakefield Press; her manuscript The Sixth Creek, was both awarded a Varuna Publisher Fellowship with Picaro Press and shortlisted for the 2012 Adelaide Festival Literature Awards unpublished manuscript prize. Her poetry has been published in Meanjin, Westerly, Wet Ink, Going Down Swinging, FourW and the Australian Poetry Members Anthology.

David Milroy was the first Artistic Director of Yirra Yaakin Aborigional Theatre and in 2002 received a Myer Award for his contribution to the development of Indigenous theatre.  David was a guest Director of the American Playwrights Conference in 2002 and has attended the Australian National Playwrights Conference on a number of occasions as a writer and Director.  David received the 2004 Patrick White Award and the 2005 Equity Guild Award for his play Windmill Baby and  a Deadly Award for his music in Windmill Baby.  David was also a finalist in the Helpmann Awards and received two Equity Guild Awards in 2011 for his play Waltzing the Wilarra.  David is currently writing his new play Crowbones and Carnivores and is the chairperson of the Palyku Native Title Working Party in the East Pilbara.

Françoise van der Plank is an avid reader and writer. Apart from many other interests, she is an active member of the local CFA and experienced at first hand the big Grampians fire of 2006.

Kate Rizzetti writes and lives in Melbourne. In 2011 her short story, Cool Change, won the Southern Cross literary award. She has had a number of other works highly commended and published since 2009. Read an interview with Kate .

Maurie Roche started photography 18 years ago. He moved to Margaret River 15 years ago for the lifestyle. ‘Living in the South West is a photographer’s dream come true’. Maurie’s main interest is in people and the landscape and the odd cow.

Mike Rumble is a local Redgate resident who experienced the fear, devastation and beauty resulting from the escaped controlled burn of November 2011 in Margaret River. As an amateur photographer for many years this is the first time he has shared his photographs publicly.

Dorothy Simmons is currently studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at Melbourne University. She was a finalist in the 2011 Scribe Fiction Prize. Her short story The Notorious Mrs. K was published in the Best Australian Stories 2010. 

Sharon Tassicker has had a life long passion for the arts. She has held the positions of Co-ordinator of the East Kimberley Art Award, Assistant to the Director at the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery at The University of Western Australia and Director of the Holmes à Court Gallery at East Perth. She is currently Collection and Exhibitions Manager, Janet Holmes à Court Collection.

Karen Throssell has had three collections of poetry published - The Old King and other poems (2003), Remembering how to cry (2004) and Chain of Hearts (2012). Her poetry has been published in Overland, Quadrant, POAM and Artstreams, and her poems appear monthly in her local Warrandyte paper, The Warrandyte Diary. Read an interview with Karen

Heidi Trudinger is an artist living and working in North East Victoria. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Curtin University, Perth 1990 and Masters of Art from CalArts, USA, 1995.


Edited by Delys Bird

"A superb and necessary anthology of literature, images and commentary on our relationship to fire in its many manifestations. The works collected here are confronting, challenging, vital and also healing. We witness the destructive effects of fire, but also the visionary and pragmatic role it plays in our lives. These contradictions are often expressed through pain and respect. Editor Delys Bird and Margaret River Press have given us a landmark book that is much needed in these times, and will be much discussed."  John Kinsella 

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Publication Year
Margaret River Press
Paperback (21 cm x 14.8 cm)
anthology, fire, margaret river

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