It has been said that we are all born scientists: as children we explore backyard nature with curiosity and fascination, and as adults we seek solitude and solace from natural landscapes.
Writing about nature offers a very special type of immersion where we experience our innate bond with the organisms around us. This bond is known as ‘Biophilia’ (“kinship with living things”). Biophilia gives us an intrinsic advantage as nature writers because most people already feel emotion about nature — or want to — whether that’s serenity, or longing, or sadness, or fear. So a good story can usually tug at the heart strings or gnaw at the gut.
With so many natural habitats in peril, too many species going extinct, and many people believing that our social fabric is fraying, nature is coming into focus as both a renewable resource and our life support system. And many would argue, there’s never been a more important time to help readers create a desire to conserve our natural world.
From the more traditional natural history essays, poetry, and field guides, to the more current ‘eco-fiction’, ‘cli-fi’, or ‘disaster porn’, nature writing is as varied as our own relationships with the forests and seas, offering writers a vibrant market for their work.
In this hands-on workshop, participants will learn and practice tactics for ‘getting in the zone’ with nature, and using that both as a source of their own inspiration and as a means of inspiring others.
Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin is a world-renowned scientist specializing in jellyfish, with over 200 new species discovered, 70 peer-reviewed scientific publications, seven field guides, and two popular science books under her belt. Her first book, Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean, held at #1 on Amazon in two categories for 4 1/2 months and was the cover story on the New York Review of Books, then going on to become the basis for a Harvard University course and three-room art installation. Stung! has since been translated into Chinese and Spanish. Lisa’s second book, Jellyfish: A Natural History, is a sumptuous coffee table book that collects in one place the stories and images that have maintained her love affair with jellies for over 26 years. Jellyfish has been translated into French, German, and Japanese.
One of Lisa’s greatest passions is communicating the awe-inspiring, mind-whirring, amazingness of nature to non-scientists. Whether that’s the otherworldliness of bioluminescent sea-sparkles, or the flirtatious character of the Aurora Australis (southern lights), or the utterly strange worlds of autumn fungi and deep-sea invertebrates, or the beauty-and-beast of jellyfish, this is where Lisa thrives.
Lisa is currently finishing her third book, and has recently begun exploring the mediums of fiction, poetry, children’s story-telling, and writing without words through painting and sculpture.
Date: Thursday 1 August Time: 1.00pm – 4.00pm Where: Byron Community College, East Point Arcade (opposite Mercato) Jonson Street, Byron Bay Cost: $65 General / $55 Members