Literary Nature Writing and the More-Than-Human Garden

In this talk I'll present my second book, Two Trees Make a Forest, which was published in 2019. Taking formal inspiration from novels The Stolen Bicycle (by Wu Ming-Yi) and Do Not Say We Have Nothing (by Madeleine Thien), Two Trees Make a Forest engages critically with the notion of memoir in the English-language nature writing genre: through an examination of the fragmentary stories of my grandparents' lives, alongside the history of Taiwan itself, it asks how the genre can be expanded beyond the scope of Anglo-American landscapes without reifying an orientalist gaze. I'll read briefly from the book before discussing its origins and formal and genre-specific challenges.


Literary Nature Writing and the More-Than-Human Garden: In this presentation, I'll consider the ways gardens have been centred in three works of very recent contemporary nature writing: Unearthing by Kyo Maclear, Rootbound by Alice Vincent, and Uprooting by Marchelle Farrell. In each of these books, the story of the garden is complicated and far from idyllic, whether as a framework for understanding kindship and relation, a means for understanding individual coming-of-age against the background of urban life, or as a means for exploring the legacies of migration and empire. In each of these works, the garden is a way of leaning more closely into the world. I'll consider the ways literary nature writing can provide a means for narrating one's experience of more-than-human kinship and connection, and ultimately provide a complex re-imagining of tropes of the garden as escape or salve.