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In this episode, Jessica White speaks Ashley Hay and Simon Cleary about thinking—and writing—through rivers and trees, and how they connect people, places, histories, ecologies, landscapes and myths.

Ashley Hay is the author of three novels and four books of narrative non-fiction. Her most recent novel, A Hundred Small Lessons, was published in 2017. Her second novel, The Railwayman’s Wife, was published in 2013. It won the 2013 Colin Roderick Prize and the People’s Choice Award at the 2014 NSW Premier’s Prize, and was also longlisted for the Miles Franklin and Nita B. Kibble awards. And her first novel, The Body in the Clouds, was published in 2010. Since mid-2018, she has been the editor of Griffith Review, though she is soon to hand that baton on.

Simon Cleary is the author of three novels: The War Artist (2019), Closer to Stone (2012) and The Comfort of Figs (2008). Simon grew up in Toowoomba before studying literature and law at the University of Queensland. His first novel, The Comfort of Figs, set in his adopted home of Brisbane, explores the changes to landscape that come with the creation of cities. After graduating from university he spent six months hitch-hiking across the Sahara into West Africa. His experiences in Algeria when civil war broke out there informed his second novel, Closer to Stone, which deals with the effects of extreme beliefs. His third novel, The War Artist – a love story – interrogates the human cost of war and violence.

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The Science Write Now (SWN) Podcast is a 3x/monthly podcast for people who love science and the arts. If you’re interested in learning more about great books, plays, and films; writing, research or editing; the lives of scientists; and creative insights into contemporary science … then you’ve come to the right place!

The SWN Podcast is hosted by Amanda Niehaus and Jessica White and produced by Taylor Mitchell with funding from the Australia Council for the Arts.

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Our opening song is 'Balmain' by Pure Milk: