Thursday 27 November 2014

B is for James Bradley

Aussie Author Challenge #2

This week we visit a contemporary Australian writer, poet & critic.

James Bradley

Born 15th May 1967 in Adelaide, SA.

Bradley stuudied at the University of Adelaide where he studied law & philosophy.

He now lives in Sydney with his partner, the novelist Mardi McConnochie, and daughters, Annabelle and Lila.

  • Wrack (1997)  - Shortlisted for Miles Franklin Award & the Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best First Book.
  • The Deep Field (1999)
  • The Resurrectionist (2006)
  • Paper Nautilus (1994) 
  • Blur: Stories by Young Australian Writers (1996)
  • The Penguin Book of the Ocean (2010)
James Bradley by Bronwyn Rennex

I thoroughly enjoyed Wrack & to a lesser degree The Deep Field.

Both books deal with time, loss & self-discovery.

Wrack delved into the historical myths & truths surrounding the 'discovery' of Australia. Set on the beautiful south coast of NSW & moving between several time periods, I found this book absorbing & moving. Over a decade later I can still bring to mind the beach shack & the wild coastal storms that featured strongly in the story.

Wrack has now been included as one of the possible texts for the new HSC Discovery module.

  "In the end, nothing is true, save that which we feel. Nothing we remember, nothing we believe, all are just stories and echoes. The past is a shifting sea where nothing is certain, and where the things we seek cannot be found, a place where we seek lands that rise from the mist into the glare of the sun and then vanish again, as quickly as they arrived. A shifting sea with nothing at its centre, except illusions, and loss." (Wrack)

The Deep Field was set in the future - a future only a decade on from the publication date (I will have to reread this to see how the futuristic stuff holds up).
Sadly the only thing I remember about this book is the ammonites.

Historical stories will always grab my attention more that science fiction, I guess.

Blur was a curious mix of stories from new young writers. I wanted to enjoy it more than I actually did.

I have also been eyeing off The Penguin Book of Ocean for years.

"James Bradley presents a dazzling selection of writing exploring this grandest of obsessions, combining fact and fiction, classical and contemporary, to create a collection like no other.
From Rachel Carson's luminous account of our planet's birth to the story of the wreck that inspired Moby-Dick, from Ernest Shackleton's harrowing account of his escape from Antarctica by open boat to Tim Winton's award-winning dissection of the dark side of surfing, The Penguin Book of the Ocean is a hymn to the mystery, beauty and majesty of the ocean, and to the poets and explorers it has inspired."

If you'd like to read about Bradley & his novel Resurrectionist - check out the PanMacmillan page here.

His personal blog is called City of Tongues where he talks about, amongst other things, his latest novel, Clade, to be published in January 2015.

Bradley on winning the Pacall Prize for Australia's best critic 2012.

"As for principles, someone once said that the only bad writing is dishonest writing, and I tend to agree. The best thing you can do is write from the heart and talk about how you felt and what you think. Part of that is about being honest about what you thought, but it's also about acknowledging your own prejudices and being prepared to acknowledge critical judgements are always provisional."

Have you read anything by Bradley? One of his novels, or maybe one one of his newpaper articles?
Do you have a favourite author that writes about the beach?

This post is also part of Jenny's Alphabe-Thursday meme.


  1. Haven't read anything by Bradley ~ Sounds like a good author and enlightened being ~ Great post for B ~

    Happy Thanksgiving to you
    artmusedog and carol

  2. I have never read anything he's written. I'll have to look the next time I'm in Barnes and Noble.

  3. I like the snippet from the book and the quote from him is very inspiring. Thank you for sharing this!

  4. I'm not familiar with Bradley either, Brona. I'm like you, I like historical better, my favorite is historical fiction. Pure history I try to find errors. Our O'Reiley has a lot of errors in his stuff. He most just writes without checking his facts. But then I don't read a whole lot.

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  6. Bradley is another author that I have not read.

    I find it interesting that he studied philosophy. I wonder if any of that experience has carried over into his writings.

  7. the Book of Oceans sounds really neat. Will put it on my reading list. He looks like a movie star! {:-Deb

  8. I hadn't even heard about him before -- thanks for bringing this author to my attention.

  9. I'm intriqued with the excerpt from Wrack.

    He sounds like an author I would enjoy.

    I'm excited to learn about more authors as this series continues.

    Thank you for linking.



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