Longlisted for the 2024 Stella Prize

Fathoms: the world in the whale – Rebecca Giggs

Nonfiction · Scribe

Fathoms

About the Book



When Rebecca Giggs encountered a humpback whale stranded on her local beach in Australia, she began to wonder how the lives of whales might shed light on the condition of our seas. How do whales experience environmental change? Has our connection to these fabled animals been transformed by technology? What future awaits us, and them? And what does it mean to write about nature in the midst of an ecological crisis?

In Fathoms: the world in the whale, Giggs blends natural history, philosophy, and science to explore these questions with clarity and hope. In lively, inventive prose, she introduces us to whales so rare they have never been named; she tells us of the astonishing variety found in whale sounds, and of whale ‘pop’ songs that sweep across hemispheres. She takes us into the deeps to discover that one whale’s death can spark a great flourishing of creatures. We travel to Japan to board whaling ships, examine the uncanny charisma of these magnificent mammals, and confront the plastic pollution now pervading their underwater environment.

In the spirit of Rachel Carson and John Berger, Fathoms is a work of profound insight and wonder. It marks the arrival of an essential new voice in narrative nonfiction and provides us with a powerful, surprising, and compelling view of some of the most urgent issues of our time.

“Rebecca Giggs is expansive and generous in her thinking, and her philosophical and scientific research.”

– 2021 Stella Prize Judges

About the Author


Rebecca Giggs

Judges’ Report


Further Reading


Explore the latest from Stella

The Stella Interview: Hayley Singer – 2024 Stella Prize shortlist In the Stella Prize Interview, we chat with Hayley Singer, shortlisted for …

The Stella Interview: Emily O’Grady In this interview, we chat with Emily O’Grady about her second novel, Feast, which has been shortlisted …

The Stella Interview: Katherine Brabon Next in our 2024 Stella Prize Interview series, we chat with Katherine Brabon. Her third novel, Body …

Help change the story

As a not-for-profit organisation with ambitious goals, Stella relies on the generous support of donors to help fund our work.

Every donation is important to us and allows Stella to continue its role as the leading voice for gender equality and cultural change in Australian literature.

Stella is a not-for-profit organisation with DGR status. All donations of $2 or more are tax-deductible.