Don Watson

A Single Tree: Voices from the Bush

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'Watson’s panoptic approach allows him to draw in a fascinating spread of material – everything from bits of measured observation and eloquent insight, to items of innocent misapprehension or wilful ignorance. While A Single Tree makes available all kinds of texts against which readers might test or expand their own vision of the ‘bush’, its compiler also quite properly states that ‘Across place and time, no book could do justice’ to the principle of variety that has guided his selection. Still and all, on a subject as big as this, Don Watson’s ‘fragmentary history’ stands as an excellent and thoughtfully arranged non-compendium, non-anthology that gets satisfyingly close.' Angelo Loukakis, Australian Book Review.

'Flicking through the pages of A Single Tree provides an absorbing read, giving an insight into the thoughts and humanity — or otherwise — of many ... The authors spring to life with a passion for the land or a remarkable insight into what drives us, or what we know so little about still.' Courier Mail, 8 January, 2016.

'Don Watson’s new book, A Single Tree, is fascinating ... it brings alive the bush during a long span of Australian history. The writers chosen by Watson range from explorers and ecologists to poets, novelists, anthropologists and historians. All briefly ‘‘say something about what it means to live in this land and some say what it will mean when we learn how to live with it’’. In discovering and selecting them Watson was often moved, ‘‘even mysteriously so’’.' Geoffrey Blainey, The Australian, 26 November, 2016.

 A Single Tree: Voices from the Bush, assembles the raw material underpinning Don Watson’s award-winning The Bush. These diverse and haunting voices span the four centuries since Europeans first set eyes on the continent.

Each of these varied contributors – settlers, explorers, anthropologists, naturalists, stockmen, surveyors, itinerants, artists and writers– represents a particular place and time. Men in awe of the landscape or cursing it; aspiring to subdue and exploit it or finding themselves defeated by it. Women reflecting on the land’s harshness and beauty, on the strangeness of their lives, their pleasures and miseries, the character and behaviour of the men. Europeans writing about indigenous Australians, sometimes with intelligent sympathy and curiosity but often with contempt, and often describing acts of startling brutality.

Article - Fragments of the Bush. Don Watson introduces A Single Tree: Voices from the Bush.

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Don.jpgDon Watson's Recollections of a Bleeding Heart: Paul Keating Prime Minister, won the Age Book of the Year and Non-Fiction Prizes, the Brisbane Courier Mail Book of the Year, the National Biography Award and the Australian Literary Studies Association's Book of the Year.

His Quarterly Essay, Rabbit Syndrome: Australia and America won the Alfred Deakin Essay Prize. 

Death Sentence, his best-selling book about the decay of public language won the Australian Booksellers Association Book of the Year. Watson's Dictionary Of Weasel Words was also a bestseller. 

American Journeys won the Age Non-Fiction and Book of the Year Awards. It also won the inaugural Indie Award for Non-Fiction and the Walkley Award for Non-Fiction.

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His book, The Bush: Travels to the Heart of Australia, was the 2015 Indie Book of the Year and Book of the Year in the 2015 NSW Premier's Literary Awards. It also won the Non-Fiction Award in the Queensland Literary Awards and the FAW Non-Fiction Prize.