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Ashley Hay

Ashley Hay

Ashley Hay is a Brisbane-based writer whose work encompasses fiction, essays, journalism, mentoring, editing and more. Between 2018–2022, she was editor of Griffith Review. Her most recent book is the new and revised edition of Gum: The story of eucalypts and their champions (2021).

Ashley Hay reviews ‘What the Trees See: A wander through millennia of natural history in Australia’ by Dave Witty

March 2024, no. 462 23 February 2024
The photograph arrives while I am reading Dave Witty’s What the Trees See. A tree’s branch close-up, outer brown-red bark peeled back to smooth and brilliant green. A friend, spotting it on Quandamooka Country in Minjerribah, North Stradbroke Island, has been understandably stopped in her tracks. Framed intimately like this, its shape and textures suggest warm musculature: lean in, you will be ... (read more)

Ashley Hay reviews 'Carnevale' by M.R. Lovric

December 2001–January 2002, no. 237 01 December 2001
There is something irresistible about trying to trace a connection between notorious lover and memoirist Casanova and notorious lover and poet Lord Byron in Venice – the seductive city where both men worked their way through galleries of women. Casanova estimated that he had had more than one hundred and thirty in 1798, the year of his death, although that was his lifetime’s count, not just th ... (read more)

Ashley Hay reviews 'In the Garden of the Fugitives' by Ceridwen Dovey

April 2018, no. 400 23 March 2018
I was never brave enough to visit Pompeii, partly due to an overactive imagination that combined a sense of the ferocity of Vesuvius’s blast in 79 CE and the volcano’s ongoing muttering with thoughts of the city’s Roman residents, cauterised in the eruption: outstretched hands; a dog expiring mid-roll; a mother and her child. The shapes that people Pompeii are not strictly bodies. They are ... (read more)

Ashley Hay reviews 'In Love with Betty the Crow: The first 40 years of ABC RN's 'The Science Show'' by Robyn Williams

May 2016, no. 381 26 April 2016
When David Attenborough's memoir Life on Air was published in 2002, the magazine I worked for arranged for me to interview him. By then I had been interviewing people for a while and thought myself quite unflusterable. I keyed in the number, listened to the dial tone. And then it was as if the call had been answered by God (interesting, as an atheist). My recording device failed, and I did an awfu ... (read more)

ABR Dahl Trust Fellowship: 'The Forest at the Edge of Time' by Ashley Hay

October 2015, no. 375 24 September 2015
Let’s begin, somewhere around 4,500 bce, in a small patch of soil on the south-west coast of Western Australia. An ovule and some pollen combine on the crest of a ridge overlooking the sea, and a plant begins to grow. It’s a little thing with juvenile leaves which will become a faintly glossy bluish-grey green as it matures. This is a eucalypt, a mallee, and it flowers with small white blossom ... (read more)