“Nothing ended, nothing begun, nothing resolved.”

— Annie Proulx, Brokeback Mountain

“The hills only come back the same: I don’t mind, and all the flat moorland and the sky. I don’t mind they say, and the water says it too, those black falls that are rimmed with peat, and the mountains in the distance to the west say it, and to the north …”

— Kirsty Gunn, The Big Music

“For one last time horse and rider were becoming part of air not earth.”

— Gillian Mears, Foal’s Bread

“Deborah Wardle writes heartfelt stories with clarity and compassion.” Carmel Bird

Why We Cry – Excerpt from novel in progress. Chapter One:

More water moves underground than across the surface in these parts. Frankie Pankhurst squinted through the windscreen into summer light. She sped over the straight, flat roads towards Lennie, her father, who was holed up in his hut by the Murray River. The nurse had said he didn’t have long, but she didn’t know Lennie’s wiry core. Frankie wound down the window, let in an oven blast of smells of dry grass and hard-baked soil. Her hair whisked around her buttress-like neck. She tugged her locks forward. The drive gave her time to think.

Recent Publications:

2023: Dr Deborah Wardle  Subterranean Imaginaries and Groundwater Narratives. Published by Routledge, Environmental Humanities series.


This book interrogates the problems of how and why largely unseen matter, in this case groundwater, has found limited expression in climate fiction. It explores key considerations for writing groundwater narratives in the Anthropocene.

The book investigates a unique selection of climate fiction alongside an exploration of hydrosocial environmental humanities through a focus on groundwater and groundwater narratives. Providing eco-critical analysis, with creative fiction and non-fiction excerpts interwoven throughout, and drawing on Indigenous Australian and Australian settler novels and poems alongside European, American and Japanese texts, the book illuminates the processes of ‘storying with’ subterranean waters – their facts, uncertainties, potencies and vulnerabilities. In a time when the water crisis in an Australian and worldwide context is escalating in response to global warming, giving voice to the complexities of groundwater extraction and pollution is vital. Drawing from non-representational, posthumanist and feminist perspectives, the book provides an important contribution to transnational, comparative climate fiction analysis, enabling an interdisciplinary exchange between hydrogeological science and the eco-humanities.

This book is an engaging read for scholars and students in creative writing, environmental humanities, cultural and post-colonial studies, Australian studies, and eco-critical literary studies. Writers and thinkers addressing the problems of the Anthropocene are called to pay attention to the importance of subterranean imaginaries and groundwater narratives.

Please encourage your local or university library to purchase copies. Flyer_ Author Wardle 20%

Publishing details available by clicking here.


2022: (Editors) Wardle, D., Van Loon J., Taylor, S., Rendle-Short, F., Murray, P., & Carlin, D., A to Z of Creative Writing Methods. Bloomsbury.  See the link: https://www.bloomsbury.com/au/a-to-z-of-creative-writing-methods-9781350184237/ to order copies. Fifty nine short essays from around the world addressing a diverse and innovative list of creative writing methods. Ideal for established and beginner writers, and for scholars in the Creative Writing field.