Stormbird Press and the 2020 Black Summer Bushfires

‘Activist literature shapes the hearts and minds of humankind and there is no greater need right now.’

Stormbird Press Publisher, Dr Margi Prideaux

March 17, 2021

Climate change has been a current running through our work since the press was born. On January 3, 2020, the threat became a physical manifestation of our harboured fears. A climate-chaos firestorm swept across Kangaroo Island and destroyed the Stormbird Press office and the wildlife sanctuary around us, along with hundreds of our neighbours’ farms and properties and significant part of the national park estate.

As one door closes, another opens. When we were thinking about how to rebuild, we knew a book was needed for parents and young children facing a loss of hope following natural disasters.

We commissioned Kangaroo Island children’s author Becky Westbrook and Queensland illustrator Jet James to write Evie and the Bushfire—a precious book about hope and empowerment in recovery.

Evie and the Bushfire, addresses Australia’s devastating recent fires with a touch of magic. … The story carries a powerful message: that hope and resilience are stronger than even the greatest disaster. It takes a child’s-eye view of the wildfires to provide age-appropriate information about them, and it conveys deep respect for nature.

Clarion Foreword Review

2020: The Year Everything Changed

First the fires on Kangaroo Island wiped out our office, then just as we were about to relaunch, the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world. We pivoted as fast as we can to reset our work in the new post COVID-19 world. These videos capture our journey from ashes to recovery. The first from April 15, 2020 is presented below.

Watch the update from July 15, 2020

Watch the update from October 23, 2020

A message to our readers

June 2020

Thank you

Stormbird Press would like to thank you for the support you have given our not-for-profit publishing business by buying books from us this year.

We are proud publishers of eco-literature (literary fiction, commercial fiction and nonfiction with an environmental theme) from a global network of activist authors. This means the books you receive from us are among some of the most unique and special in the world.

At Stormbird Press, we know there is a clear link between climate change and the recent bushfires that devastated Kangaroo Island. The Climate Council provides clarity about what is to come:

  1. The catastrophic, unprecedented fire conditions currently affecting much of Australia have been aggravated by climate change. Bushfire risk was exacerbated by record breaking drought, very dry fuels and soils, and record-breaking heat.
  2. Bushfire conditions are now more dangerous than in the past. The risks to people and property have increased and fire seasons have lengthened. It is now harder to prepare for worsening conditions.
  3. As seasons overlap and fires become more destructive, governments will be increasingly constrained in their ability to share resources and the costs of tackling fires will increase.
  4. Governments must develop an urgent plan to prepare for the future. There are very few signs this is going to happen.

However, as much as they have a duty of care, Stormbird Press is not waiting for governments to act. We are rebuilding and planning for this climate-changed future. We intend to survive and thrive. Defying fires and pestilence, our focus has been sharpened, our resolve deepened—we will be a conduit between activist environmental authors and you; our cherished book readers.

We will rebuild and get back on our feet so that we can spread the words, because we believe activist literature shapes the hearts and minds of humankind and there is no greater need right now.  

In solidarity,
The Stormbird Press team.