Authors and the end of the world: The wellbeing impact of researching, writing and marketing climate fiction

  • Matthews, A. (Speaker)
  • Alexander Cothren (Speaker)
  • Rachel Hennessy (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


There is a growing body of literature that studies the emotional impact of engaging regularly with climate change in a professional capacity, with a particular focus on climate scientists and conservationists. However, the experience of climate fiction writers is yet to be investigated, despite the many years such writers must spend deeply focusing on the climate change issue. This project fills this gap by interviewing 16 Australian and New Zealand writers of climate fiction, focusing on how the different stages of the publishing cycle — research, writing and marketing — affected their wellbeing. While there was a diversity of experiences, we have identified a number of trends. Despite some confronting moments, the research and writing phases represented a positive experience, with writers gaining a sense of control and usefulness in the face of the immense climate change problem. For many writers, though, the post-publication phase produced more difficult emotions, including feelings of guilt over inaction in the face of the crisis, frustration at reader responses, and pressure at being construed as climate change experts in interviews and festival events. In the Anthropocene, the number of authors who find themselves compelled to engage with these issues is ever increasing, including young and emerging writers in university settings, and our research is therefore timely in considering the impact of writing into this difficult space.
Period1 Dec 2023
Event titleAAWP Conference: We Need To Talk
Event typeConference
Conference number28
LocationCanberra, Australia, Australian Capital TerritoryShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational


  • climate fiction
  • Australian fiction
  • Climate fiction authors
  • author interviews
  • creative writing
  • creative writing methodologies
  • wellbeing