Dear Visitor; Dear Reader

Welcome to this site, which offers a brief introduction to some of my recent books and writings, set, for the most part, in northern Australia and the desert inland. The books are described on their dedicated page, together with a short account of their themes. Some are fictive, some lie close to the daily world we occupy, some stand far apart. They share a goal: they seek to convey something of the scale and grandeur of what surrounds us, and what remains beyond us.

No writer knows himself well. No writer should have too much knowledge of himself: but how not to have ideas about one’s work, how not to sense affinities and connections with landscapes, characters, moments that stand out in the relentless flow of life?

Here you can see a sequence of images that I have gathered over time, and that have come to hold special meaning for me: views, records of places, works of human hand – emblems, also, of the thoughts and patterns of feelings that these books aim to trace out: books devoted to the idea, which grows ever stronger in me, that the order of our world and the well-springs of our being are masked from us, and only the most reflective, most constantly scrutinized life is worth leading.

I write these lines at the point of daybreak, on an early dry season morning, looking out across the blue calm of the Arafura Sea. The day is silent, still, complete. To what end are we ushered into this world? What void do our desires and longings fill? The landscape draws us in: it whispers that the clues to knowledge of ourselves lie in the way we look.

On these pages you will encounter essays from my hand, and by others: considerations of my work by attentive critics and readers, and my readings of the works of authors I admire. In due course there will be an interview on method, filmed in remote landscape, where the world’s hidden fault-lines seem to lie close to the surface. You will also find recorded discussions, explorations of the country of the Australian tropics and the desert inland, and examinations of the ideas they set in train.

One writes alone; the pages go out; the eyes of others give life to their words. To those friends and colleagues of mine who have helped me in the preparation of this site, and in the journeys, both inward and geographic, that have led to its creation, and to you, the reader of these lines, I should like to express, in closing, my most affectionate gratitude.

Nicolas Rothwell