The project you have secured sounds lucrative. I hope your publishers
have allotted lots of space in your acknowledgements section as I'm sure
the territory of birds and folklore will appeal to many: protocols for all
will be the tried and true test I suspect.
> I would love to hear from anyone who has advice on birds which I can write
> about drawing on their role in folklore.
> I have just been awarded a doctoral scholarship as a natural history
> writer at La Trobe University to write my next book(s). The real buzz is
> that an English Department at a university was so keen to acknowledge
> natural history writing as 'creative'.
> The theme is to write about animal behaviour drawing on the folklore
> (defined as folk stories, myth and legends) of the area. Like my spiders
> book, it will be a personal narrative style but still "popular science",
> not fiction. And I have three years of doing this - all animals, all
> countries, all forms of narrative. How good is that!!!???!!!
> I am starting with the Australian birds and Aboriginal Dreamtime or any
> other narrative sources.
> A brief example may make my (still fuzzy because I have only just started)
> goals clearer. Oodgeroo Noonuccal wrote about the curlew on Stradbroke
> Island with a traditional story based around its call. I haven't yet
> worked out which curlew of the three there, but have HANZAB (and Damian)
> at hand! The goal is then to go to Stradbroke and listen to, observe and
> photograph the curlew. I can then write about the curlew as a modern
> natural history writer, drawing on the observations and inspiration of
> those who have written about them before to enhance my own observation and
> reading. The Indigenous Liaison officer at La Trobe uni has been
> unbelievably helpful about protocols and such-like and extremely
> encouraging. The aboriginal stories about the birds are just gorgeous.
> Part of direction in doing this may include writing for children as well
> as adults. The stories of all sorts of cultures, including our own, often
> reflect very careful observation of the behaviour of the birds.
> My goal is to write in a way which gets everyone out taking more notice
> of, and getting more inspiration from, the world's animals. I hope to
> write articles as well as books.
> The topic is still very flexible, so any suggestions or comments will be
> Lynne Kelly
> author, educator: http://www.lynnekelly.com.au
> EUMY Education: http://www.eumyeducation.com
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