April Writing

March was very busy and I’m hoping to get some settled writing done this month. I’m working in two opposite directions – the future and the past – and trying not to go mad with that!

I’m editing a book called The Midden with Jenni Nurmenniemi, which relates to the Frontiers in Retreat art and ecology research project. I have just returned from Helsinki and a very productive meeting with Jenni and the book designer, Serge from NODE. The book will be published in the summer and includes essays by Taru Elfving, Emma Itaranta, Jenni Nurmenniemi, Jussi Parikka, Antti Salminen and myself.

1 Annantalo
My Water Age workshop with children at Annatalo Art School, Helsinki

I’m also finalising a series of books, The Water Age, that I will self-publish, which are the culmination of my own work in the Frontiers in Retreat project. One book is a collection of my future fictions. The other two books present art and writing workshops, one for adults and the other for children. More on the publication dates for those coming soon.

And work on the final book in my historical trilogy, Conquest, published by Impress Books, is underway. The new novel, The Anarchy, is set in 12th century Europe and focuses on the Welsh princess, Nest ferch Rhys and the continuing struggles between the Welsh and the Normans. I have a couple of guest blogposts coming up this month on M.K. Tod’s A Writer of History and Mary Anne Yarde’s Myths, Legends, Books and Coffee Pots. Her first guest this month, is Tom Williams, a British writer who has written a novel about a man he describes as ‘the James Bond of the Napoleonic Wars’. If you are interested in historical fiction this sounds like a good read.

Dreaming Ireland


Dreaming Place is a new ebook by Anna Keleher with illustrations by Anna Keleher and Claire Cote. The two artists made two journeys wild-camping in the Marble Arch Caves Geopark which straddles the Ireland/Northern Ireland border. They talked with lots of local people about the relationship between the land and their dreams. They recorded local musicians, storytellers, potholers, artists. They wanted to find out about both old and new approaches to off-grid living.

They made a series of radio programmes, a mobile listening and recording studio and now this book.

The book includes 25 line drawings by the artists and is a lively, humorous and vivid read.

It is available from Amazon for £2.75 or free on Kindle Unlimited. I highly recommend it for Christmas presents, accompanying a journey to Ireland, or cosy armchair travelling.

Writing with Water

Ida Larsen making word confluences in the Writing with Water workshop

As part of my current Frontiers in Retreat residency with HIAP on Suomenlinna island, Finland, I ran a two day workshop on Writing with Water with postgraduate students from University of the Arts, Helsinki from the new Ecology and Contemporary Performance MA and from Performance Studies – Christiana Bissett, Ida Larsen, Elina Minn and Jussi Salminen. We considered writers on water including Bachelard, Deakin, Gooley. We discussed the behaviours, characteristics, movements, political, biological, environmental and psychological significances of water. We discussed immersion, the littoral, fear and love for water, dissolution. I presented recent water projects including my water exoplanet novella, Meanda and the River Runs collaboration with Urbonas Studio. We looked at recent work with water by other artists including Tuula Narhinen, Susan Derges, Sarah Kenchington and Bram Arnold. We made experiments outside on the island and in HIAP’s Project Space in order to generate and develop the beginnings of some ideas for texts, images, actions with and about water. One of the workshop participants reports below:

Jussi Salminen, Flashlight Cave

Jussi Salminen, Work Seeds

I was playing with the idea, that life, as we know it, arrived to planet earth from outer space in the form of water. This water included consciousness. And “Consciousness is continuous … without breach, crack or division. It is nothing jointed; it flows” (William James, The Principles of Psychology). I was searching for altered states of consciousness of water. Where has water been through? I found a man-made cave occupied by water. The human mind developed in water-made caves, so what has a man-made cave done for water? I started to examine water with altered states of consciousness in this man-made cave by voice work (humming into the flooded reverberating space), wall drawings, and by taking a sample with me to study through smell and observation. I would like to take this research further into laboratory work (microscopic testing, electric charge etc.), site-specific work (Plato’s cave for water) and bodywork (telepathy, contact, encounters). The water sample was tinted brown, active, squirming with life, in comparison with the flat, still, odourless water from the tap. And what are we going to do with all this stupid water (tap water)? From the springs I can hear my ancestors calling!

Elina Minn, Fictional Hydramap in the Writing with Water workshop. Photo: Salla Lahtinen.

Non-human, non-animal seminar Z to A

A list of references for my presentation during the Non-human, Non-animal seminar held at the Museum of Nonhumanity, Helsinki on 24 September 2016. More on the seminar here.

Zooetics – Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas, Tracey Warr & Viktorija Siaulyte, in Frontiers in Retreat, 2014-2018 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zooetics/347421948771673?fref=ts

Warr, Tracey

Thompson, D’Arcy Wentworth, On Growth and Form, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

Stone, Christopher D., Should Trees Have Standing?: Law, Morality and the Environment, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010 (originally published 1974).

Skelton, Richard

Schwenk, Theodor – Wilkens, Andreas; Jacobi, Michael & Schwenk, Wolfram, Understanding Water: Developments from the Work of Theodor Schwenk, Edinburgh: Floris, 2005.

Schauberger, Viktor – Alexandersson, Olof, Living Water: Viktor Schauberger and the Secrets of Natural Energy, Dublin: Gateway, 1990.

River Runs – Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas, Tracey Warr & Giacomo Castagnola at Modern Art Oxford, 2012

Remote Performances – London Fieldworks with Tracey Warr and other artists http://outlandia.com Gilchrist, Bruce; Joelson, Jo & Warr, Tracey, eds. (2015) Remote Performances in Nature and Architecture, London: Routledge.

Pixelache Festival 2016: Interfaces for Empathy

Paz, Octavio, My Life with the Wave, 1949

Papadopoulos, Dimitris, Generation M: Matter, Makers, Microbiomes:: Compost for Gaia

Outdoor Swimming Society

Nikolic, Mirko, Copperlove

Narhinen, Tuula

Museum of Nonhumanity

Meanda – water novella by Tracey Warr (in English and French) and twitter fiction



McKay, Christopher, Planetary Ecosynthesis on Mars: Restoration Ecology and Environmental Ethics, 2007

Lopez, Barry, Arctic Dreams, London: Vintage, 2001.

London Fieldworks Gilchrist, Bruce & Joelson, Jo, eds., London Fieldworks: Syzygy/Polaria, London: Black Dog Publishing.

Lem, Stanislaw, Solaris, London: Faber & Faber, 1971.

Le Guin, Ursula, The Dispossessed, The New Atlantis, The Word for World is Forest …

Kenchington, Sarah, Euphonium at Sea


Itaranta, Emmi, Memory of Water, London: Harper Voyager, 2014.

Gooley, Tristan, How to Read Water, London: Sceptre, 2016.

Frontiers in Retreat


Huuskonen, Juha & Nurmenniemi, Jenni, eds. (2016) HIAP Helsinki International Artists Programme, 2015, Helsinki: HIAP.

Fishman, Charles, The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water, New York: Free Press, 2011.

Exoplanet Lot – organised by Maison des Arts George Pompidou, Cajarc, France with Tracey Warr, Tania Candiani, HeHe, Ludwig, Thomas Lasbouygues, Caroline Le Mehaute and Angelika Markul https://www.facebook.com/exoplanetlot/

Deakin, Roger, Waterlog, London: Vintage, 2000.

Cheever, John, ‘The Swimmer’ in Collected Stories

Canavan, Gerry & Robinson, Kim Stanley, Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction, Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 2014.

Bateson, Gregory, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.

Bataille, Georges, ‘L’informe’ in The Critical Dictionary, 1929.

Ballard, J.G., The Drowned World, New York: Berkley Books, 1962. Vermilion Sands, New York: Berkley Books, 1971.

Bachelard, Gaston, Water and Dreams, transl. Edith R. Farrell, Dallas: Pegasus, 1983.

Arnold, Bram Thomas Actions For & Against Nature

Exoplanet song


Tania Candiani Ear Trumpets Photo Yohann Gozard
Tania Candiani, Listening Sculpture in the Exoplanet Lot exhibition. Photo: Yohann Gozard.

For the Exoplanet Lot exhibition organised by MAGP, open in France now until 4 September, I collaborated with artist Tania Candiani on an ‘exoplanet song’. Tania installed this fabulous listening sculpture on the cliff top at Saint Cirq Lapopie above the Lot river. I adapted the lyrics of a medieval song written by the Comtesse de Dia and the song was recorded in Occitan and played in the valley. The Comtesse’s song was a love lament of a woman betrayed. My song is the voice of Earth lamenting that humans have left for an exoplanet. Here are my lyrics in English:

Of things I’d rather keep in silence I must sing

so bitter do I feel toward you

whom I love more than anything.


You left me for another planet,

my forests silent, my seas emptied.

Come home now. I have healed the scars you graved.


It’s not right another celestial body takes you away from me.

Remember how it was with us in the beginning!

Come home. We could still have much time together

Before the death throes of the sun begin.


I send you there, on your exoplanet,

this song as messenger and delegate.

Come home my lovers, my humans.