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Take Home Reading: Erin Hortle

Listen to Take Home Reading: Erin Hortle

Photograph of Erin Hortle next to the cover of her book, 'The Octopus and I', featuring a large outline of a blue octopus over a green background

Take Home Reading is a new short-form audio series for readers and writers – shining a spotlight on Australian writers with recently released books. In each instalment, you’ll be introduced to a writer, learn a little about what they’ve been reading lately, and hear a short reading from their latest work. 

In this episode we’re talking to Erin Hortle about her novel, The Octopus and I

The Octopus and I is a stunning debut novel set on the Tasmanian coast that lays bare the wild, beating heart at the intersection of human and animal, love and loss, and fear and hope.

The Octopus and I is a novel about a breast cancer survivor called Lucy, who becomes intensely fascinated with some female octopuses that live down at Eaglehawk Neck on the Tasman Peninsula. There's a particular element of them that she's fascinated by, [a] really bizarre localised phenomenon (which isn't necessarily normal octopus behaviour) where these female egg-carrying octopuses try to drag themselves across an isthmus to try to get to the open ocean. [Here] there are sea caves for them to be able to extrude their thousands of eggs, which they then fan water on for up to a couple of weeks until the eggs hatch, and then the female octopus dies.’

The Octopus and I is out now through Allen Unwin.


Download a PDF transcript of this episode here.


Portrait of Erin Hortle

Erin Hortle

Erin Hortle is a Tasmanian-based writer. Her short fiction and essays have been published in a range of Tasmanian and Australian publications. The majority of her academic and creative writing explores the ways in which experimental approaches to writing might facilitate new ways of imagining the human's relationship with the more than human world, with a distinctly feminist bent. 

Topics she writes about currently include ambergris, surfing and surf culture, pelagic birds and octopuses. When she's not writing, she can usually be found curled up with a book, or floating and drifting in the Tasman Sea or Southern Ocean. The Octopus and I is her debut novel.

Portrait of Stella Charls

Stella Charls

Stella is the Wheeler Centre's Programming Coordinator.

An emerging arts manager and event producer, Stella was previously the Marketing and Events Coordinator for Readings, and the Festival Manager for the National Young Writers’ Festival, Australia’s largest gathering of young and innovative writers working in both new and traditional forms.

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