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Alice Bishop: A Constant Hum and the aftermath of Black Saturday

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Alice Bishop discusses her acclaimed collection of stories, A Constant Hum, and the aftermath of the Black Saturday fires. With Anna Krien.

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Before the fire – before the front of flames roars over the hills—the ridge is thick with gums. After the fire, all the birds have gone. There is only ash and melted metal, the blackened husks of cars. And the lost people: on the TV news in borrowed clothes, in temporary accommodation on the outskirts of the city, or remembered in small offerings outside the town hall.

A Constant Hum grapples with the aftermath of bushfire with an eye for the telling detail. Some of these stories cut to the bone; others are empathetic tales of survival, even hope.

Alice Bishop discusses her collection of stories in the context of climate science and explores the questions: can climate disasters be prevented and how do we keep going? With Anna Krien.

Alice Bishop is from Christmas Hills, Victoria. Her first book, A Constant Hum, was shortlisted for the 2019 Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction and recognised in the Penguin Literary Prize.

Alice has written about bushfire aftermath for the last decade after seeing her community struggle in the aftermath of the 2009 Victorian Fires. Her work focuses on place, people and climate—often highlighting the quiet moments that make us who we are.

Alice’s short stories and essays have appeared in Meanjin, Sydney Review of Books, Overland, Australian Book Review, Sydney Morning Herald, Kill Your Darlings and many more.

Anna Krien is the author of Night Games: Sex, Power and Sport, Into the Woods: The Battle for Tasmania’s Forests and Quarterly Essay 45, Us and Them: On the Importance of Animals.

Anna writes journalism, essays, fiction and poetry. Her work has been published in the Monthly, the Age, the Big Issue, The Best Australian Essays, The Best Australian Stories, Griffith Review, Voiceworks, Going Down Swinging, COLORS, Frankie and Dazed & Confused.

Anna’s latest book, Act of Grace, is an electrifying story of fear and sacrifice, and what people will do to outrun the shadows.

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