Phosphorescence: On awe, wonder & things that sustain you when the world goes dark

By Julia Baird


‘This book is beautiful … Julia Baird has been to the tough edges and gives us light. She writes like a dream.’ MATT HAIG

‘Luminous and deeply comforting’ KATHERINE MAY

’Utterly captivating and magical.’ JULIA BRADBURY

Julia Baird’s intimate study of phosphorescence is full of wisdom and joy; a roadmap for rediscovering our inner light after the darkest of times.

We now know just how much we should treasure the times when we feel happy, content and at peace. When we feel this way we seek out life’s experiences with a sense of optimism and hope. But how do we move forward with life now that everything has changed? Now that we appreciate just how fragile and fleeting these feelings can be? Is it possible to access a light – our own source of phosphorescence – that can sustain us in this brave new world?

In this wise and inspiring book, bestselling author Julia Baird reflects on her encounters with phosphorescence, a luminescent phenomenon found in nature, and how she was able to cultivate her own ‘inner light’ in the face of a life-threatening illness.

When we spend time in nature, humble ourselves to the mystery of the world, and recognise the ‘soothing power of the ordinary’, we are able to discover hidden sources of strength and resilience. It is these experiences that sustain us, help us place one foot in front of the other and cultivate our own essential light which will light our path in good times and bad.

Format: Hardback
Release Date: 27 May 2021
Pages: 336
ISBN: 978-0-00-846362-5
Julia Baird is a globally renowned author and award-winning journalist. A much-beloved broadcaster in her native Australia, Julia presents for ABC TV and writes columns for The New York Times. In 2007, she became senior editor of Newsweek in New York. Her work has earned her four Walkley Our Watch awards, a Walkley Award for team election reporting, and two further Walkley nominations. She lives near the sea with two children, a tyrannical cat and an abnormally large dog.

”'This is a book full of all that it means to be alive on this turning, burning, exquisite planet. Baird writes with a raw, transforming honesty I have never before encountered and I am the better for having experienced her truth. A necessary, timely and utterly gorgeous work.” - KERRI Ní DOCHARTAIGH, author of Thin Places

‘A luminously written reminder not to deny the inevitable rough patches of life, but to acknowledge them; to look out, up and around and discover the light that exists, even in the darkest of places.'KATE SAWYER, author of The Stranding -

”'Julia Baird is an alchemist, turning the dross of her life’s harshest blows into shimmering prose.  Ravaged by a broken heart and debilitating cancer, she undertakes a careful examination of what might yet sustain her.  Both timeless and timely, this is a book of wisdom and wonder.” - GERALDINE BROOKS

”'I loved this book. A cupped hand full of light in a darkened world. A collection of glittering curios. I’ll hold it close in trying times.” - CAL FLYN, author of Islands of Abandonment

”'A moving and beautiful exploration of surviving dark and difficult times. Baird’s writing shines light on simple but important truths.” - SUE STUART-SMITH, author of The Well Gardened Mind

”'An enchanting meditation on the importance of nurturing our own phosphorescence” - Caroline Sanderson, THE BOOKSELLER

‘This book is a love letter to the world by a brilliant writer who nearly left it. Julia Baird has gone into the depths of human experience—her own, and others’ —and come back with this luminous and profound celebration of people and the planet. A treasure to read and re-read your whole life.’ ANNA FUNDER, bestselling author of Stasiland -