Dark Mountain: Issue 16 (PDF)


Our sixteenth issue is a special anniversary collection, celebrating ten years of publishing uncivilised writing and art in turbulent times.


This is a PDF download of Dark Mountain: Issue 16

Our sixteenth issue is a special anniversary collection, celebrating ten years of publishing uncivilised writing and art in turbulent times.

From the publication of the manifesto, across 16 books, five festivals, hundreds of online articles and artistic collaborations, the Dark Mountain Project has provided a space within which to pause and step outside the bubble of civilisation; a gathering point where we can consider the destiny of human and more-than-human collectives – and the planet itself – in the face of decline and ecocide.

The hardback books have always been at the centre of what we do, logging the testimonies of writers and artists confronting the existential and experiential questions about our predicament – in all their beauty, joy and terror. This threshold publication contains 56 responses to an invitation sent to some of our most seasoned ‘mountaineers’ – fellow travellers who have walked alongside the project at different twists and turns on its journey. We invited everyone to reflect on the undercurrents of the last ten years, from the big picture to the microscopic, and then to look at what lies ahead. It marks a pivotal moment, not only in our existence as a project, but also the closing of a tumultuous decade, a decade which has made the refuge provided by Dark Mountain seem more crucial than ever.

For some this refuge is by a fire on a literal mountain or by the sea , or others, a moment of awakeness in a time of amnesia: gliding above a dying coral reef in the Indian Ocean, standing in a police cell in Wembley, or lying face down on a highway in winter in Massachusetts.

What connects this great shoal of stories, paintings, photographs, poems, interviews and essays, is the search for a lexicon that not only explores the existential crisis we share, but might also break us out of our cultural lockdown and tell a deeper story about being human. An uncivilised language of body, spirit and imagination.

‘How do you build a culture which sees the world as a living, sacred community of which you are part?’ask Paul Kingnorth in conversation with Charlotte Du Cann. As the tempest builds and the creatures disappear, how do you connect with the Earth that sustains every breath we take? How do we connect with the ancestral knowledge that once instructed us in how to live in beauty and harmony here?

Around these pages twines an alphabet of leaves and honeysuckle branches, seabird and river; essays on the elemental and ancestral tellings held in autumn haiku and Arctic string figures. We have become so transfixed by the sound of our own voices, Margaret Elphinstone observes, we have become deaf to the voices of creatures and trees. Listen, says the Hare to Deadman in the poem.

Open your ears.


Writers on the peak: Akshay Ahuja, Vanessa Andreotti, Nancy Campbell. Rob Carney, Cate Chapman, Mike Cipra, Catrina Davies, Charlotte Du Cann, Rachel Economy, Margaret Elphinstone, Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, Jay Griffths, Vinay Gupta, Samantha M. Harvey, Dougald Hine, Harvye Hodja, Nick Hunt, Neale Inglenook, Thomas Keyes, Paul Kingsnorth, Anthea Lawson, Sylvia Linsteadt, Jane Lovell, Sophie McKeand, Alastair McIntosh, Daniel Nakanishi-Chalwin, Paul O’Connor, Mat Osmond, Nina Pick, Sarah Rea, Jeri Reilly, John Rember, Eric Robertson, Dr. Martin Shaw, Tom Smith, Dougie Strang, Em Strang, Ben Weaver, Steve Wheeler.

Summit artists: Monique Besten, Kit Boyd, Rebecca Clark, Katie Ione Craney, David Ellingsen, Nick Hayes, Bruce Hooke, Nicholas Kahn & Richard Selesnick, Gavin Leane, Robert O. Leaver, Meryl McMaster, Ava Osbiston, Mat Osmond, Caroline Ross, Kate Walters, Kate Williamson.

Dark Mountain: Issue 16 was edited by Cate Chapman (poetry), Charlotte Du Cann, Anthea Lawson and Tom Smith. Additional commissioning: Nick Hunt and Steve Wheeler. Art and production: Charlotte Du Cann

Jacket design by Christian Brett of Bracketpress.

Cover: ‘Leading Me to Places I Could Never Find on My Own’ by Meryl McMaster.

Dark Mountain: Issue 16 is a hardback book, 271 pages long, printed on FSC-certified paper

ISBN 978-9-9955402-7-9