Every river tells a story. Every great story reveals a river.

Tales from the River, 2019 Mulvenna D, Prideaux M (eds), Stormbird Press, Parndana

Saturday, September 29, is World Rivers Day

Every river has a story to tell, as do the people who live, work, and travel along them. These are stories of passion, love, adventure, and wonder. Tales from the River: An Anthology of River Literature, captures a collection of these stories from river keepers—scientists, naturalists, activists, and adventurers—who love and care for the world’s rivers.

Like stories, rivers have a beginning, a middle, and an end, starting somewhere, meandering through the landscape, then ending their journey. They carry the story construct through time, bringing to life the lessons of our past and painting pictures of our future,’ says Donna Mulvenna, Tales of the River lead editor. ‘What flows through the pages of Tales from the River is a story that binds us to each other.’

Throughout the anthology, it is evident that rivers possess their own personality, offering boundless opportunity for discovery, and pure unfiltered joy. Author Ron Melchiore writes of a sixth sense telling him he wasn’t alone on his river. He turned to see the big head of a moose swimming towards him, like a submerged iceberg. The cold waters of Saskatchewan have witnessed such communions for millennia.

In Australia, award-winning author Anthony Birch, transports us to his ancestral past, where he watched a water bird gracefully glide across the surface of the water, without making a sound. When he thought back to that first visit to the billabong, what he remembered most clearly was that it was the first time, in the life of an Aboriginal “slum kid” that country had spoken to him.

In Brazil, renowned environmentalist Jose Truda Palazzo Jr. offers glimpses of a private expedition along the Negro river where a family of pink dolphins, circled the sandbank for a long while, their loud poofs and surface antics, including the occasional jump out of the water, amazing the group of river travellers and touching them forever.

Stories such as these remind us that if we experience wild places with the same wonder that we feel love, touching the depths of our souls, we would never stray far from them,’ says Mulvenna, who formed a deep connection with rivers in French Guiana. One vivid memory she has is of watching three young children paddling a traditional pirogue along a river in the Amazon. The eldest child was steering the canoe with a long takari pole, as confidently as a child peddling a little three-wheeled cart in a city park. The river was his world.

Aside from recreation, there is of course a practical need to care for our rivers. Without clean, healthy rivers we lose important wildlife and habitats. But there is also something more spiritual: a joyfulness that comes with being near a body of flowing water, and an innate longing to care for it.

In the foreword to the anthology Erik Solhiem, Executive Director of UN Environment, writes that it is, ‘when people connect personally with an issue, that change happens… Each story conveys a powerful message—that we must save the rivers of this planet. Because it is only when we save our rivers, will we be able to protect what we love.

Rather than serving as a mere backdrop to stories and our lives, the rivers throughout the anthology are integral to the experiences of its authors, with memories of direct encounters lasting a lifetime,’ concludes Mulvenna. ‘Culture, adventure, beauty, love, and the sustenance of people and wildlife: that is what rivers are all about. That is why rivers are so precious.

Tales of the River Press Pack
Tales of the River cover image
Tales of the River social media meme
, with Micheline Jenner  endorsement
Tales of the River social media meme
, with Callum Roberts  endorsement
Tales of the River social media meme
, with Stuart Orr, WWF  endorsement
Tales of the River social media meme
, with Alyson Hagy endorsement

Tales of the River:
 An Anthology of River Literature

For interviews, images, or further information contact:
Margi Prideaux, Stormbird Press
+61 8 8121 5841