Fire Flood Plague: Making sense of 2020

How will 2020 shift our sense of our history, our environment and ourselves? And how might it change our ideas about the future?

A new anthology, Fire Flood Plague, sees leading Australian writers trying to make sense of the chaos of 2020; a year that began with raging bushfires, then descended into Covid-19 confusion. 

In these thoughtful essays, supported by the Copyright Agency and first published in the Guardian, our best thinkers grapple with the many strange, disturbing and uplifting moments of 2020; scenes of Zoom chats with old friends, of Black Lives Matter protests, of the toilet-paper wars, of January's smoke-filled cities and February’s torrential east-coast rains.

At this very special online event, introduced by Copyright Agency CEO Adam Suckling and hosted by Sophie Cunningham, we'll hear from Fire Flood Plague writers – environmentalists, historians, scientists and novelists – as they read from their work.

Please note that Omar Sakr will no longer be appearing in tonight's event.

Our online bookseller for this event will be Readings.

Fire Flood Plague: Making Sense of 2020


Portrait of Sophie Cunningham

Sophie Cunningham

Sophie Cunningham is the author of five books, the most recent of which is City of Trees: Essays on Life, Death & the Need for a Forest. She is a former publisher, former editor of Meanjin, former Chair of the Literature Board of the Australia Council and was a co-founder of The Stella Prize. She is an Adjunct Professor with RMIT's Non/fiction lab.

Portrait of Billy Griffiths

Billy Griffiths

Billy Griffiths is an Australian writer and historian. His latest book, Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia (Black Inc., 2018), won the Ernest Scott Prize, the Felicia A. Holton Book Award, the John Mulvaney Book Award, the Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction and the 2019 Book of the Year at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

He lectures in Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies at Deakin University in Melbourne.

Portrait of Kate Cole-Adams

Kate Cole-Adams

Kate Cole-Adams is a Melbourne-based writer and journalist. Her 2017 book Anaesthesia won the Mark and Evette Moran Nib Literary Award and was shortlisted for the 2018 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award (Non-Fiction category) and Melbourne Prize Best Writing Award. Her 2008 novel, Walking to the Moon, was short-listed in the 2006 VPLA Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. She is fascinated by unconscious processes and other things she can’t understand.

Portrait of Jane Rawson

Jane Rawson

Jane Rawson writes novels, essays and stories, mostly about climate change and animals. Her latest novel is From the Wreck. She lives in Tasmania's Huon Valley and works for a conservation organisation.

Portrait of Gabrielle Chan

Gabrielle Chan

Gabrielle Chan has been a journalist for more than 30 years. She began covering politics in the 1990s for The Australian at the NSW parliament and in the Canberra press gallery.

She has worked for Guardian Australia since 2013 in roles including political correspondent and Politics Live blogger. The city-born daughter of a Singaporean migrant, Gabrielle moved to a sheep and wheat farm in 1996 where she noticed the yawning gap between parliament and small town life. The result is Rusted Off: Why Country Australia is Fed Up, which was shortlisted for the 2019 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and the 2020 Walkley book prize. Gabrielle is currently working on her next book on food, farming and landscape.

Portrait of Melanie Cheng

Melanie Cheng

Melanie Cheng is a writer and general practitioner from Melbourne. She is the author of Australia Day, which won the 2018 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Fiction, and Room for a Stranger, which was longlisted for the 2020 Miles Franklin Award. Her non-fiction has been published in the Guardian, the Age, The Weekend Australian and SBS Online. She is The Saturday Paper's health columnist.

Portrait of Adam Suckling

Adam Suckling

Adam joined the Copyright Agency as Chief Executive in August 2015 from News Corp, where he was the Director of Policy, Corporate Affairs & Community Relations.

Prior to that, he was the director of policy and corporate affairs for FOXTEL and prior to this held a commercial role running FOXTEL’s wholesale group. Before joining FOXTEL Adam worked for a period in Singapore, as a director in SingTel’s international group, which oversaw the company’s investments across the Asia-Pacific.  Prior to going to Singapore he was general manager of regulatory affairs at Optus.

Portrait of Kim Scott

Kim Scott

Kim Scott is a Miles Franklin Award-winning novelist based in Fremantle, Western Australia.

Kim Scott grew up on the south coast of Western Australia. He is proud to be one among those who call themselves Noongar. His second novel, Benang: From the Heart, won the 1999 Western Australian Premier's Book Award, the 2000 Miles Franklin Literary Award and the 2001 Kate Challis RAKA Award. His third novel, That Deadman Dance, also won the Miles Franklin Literary Award in 2011, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Western Australian Premier's Book Award.

He is professor of writing at the School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry, Curtin University. His new novel, Taboo, is out now.

Portrait of Jess Hill

Jess Hill

Jess Hill is an investigative journalist who has been writing about domestic violence since 2014. Prior to this, she was a producer for ABC Radio, a Middle East correspondent for the Global Mail, and an investigative journalist for Background Briefing. She was listed in Foreign Policy's top 100 women to follow on Twitter, and her reporting on domestic violence has won two Walkley awards, an Amnesty International award and three Our Watch awards.


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