Dark Mountain: Issue 9 (PDF)

Nick is the author of three books about walking and Europe, the most recent of which is Outlandish, a work of gonzo ornithology, The Parakeeting of London, and a collection of short fiction, Loss Soup and Other Stories. He works as an editor and co-director for the Dark Mountain Project, and has contributed short stories and essays to many of its issues. Red Smoking Mirror is his debut novel.


The Spring 2016 issue is a collection of writing and artwork that responds to the idea of ‘humbleness’.


This is a PDF download of Dark Mountain: Issue 9.

Our ninth issue takes the form of a classic Dark Mountain anthology, with new work from writers and artists around the world – stories and essays, poems, images and conversations – responding to the accelerating effects of climate change, mass extinction and societal dysfunction. ‘Humanity is going to be humbled one way or another,’ write the editors, ‘so we may as well begin the process ourselves.’

Humbleness comes from the Latin humus, meaning ‘earth’; so to be humble means to lay oneself low, but also to be grounded, to return to the solid and material. In their own ways, the art works, poems, stories and essays in this volume explore different ways of re-communion with the Earth. Here the certainties on which the edifices of civilisation teeter are replaced with the small, the unpretentious, the discomfiting.

Familiar names – Em Strang avoiding the global news to bear witness to more immediate worlds, Adam Dinan and Tom Smith investigating microbial life – and established figures like Derrick Jensen can be found alongside new contributors and fresh perspectives: Nadia Lucia Peralta on the ecstatic loss of self at carnival time, Fern Leigh Albert recording life off-grid in Dartmoor with her camera, and Claire Liss considering the evolution of plant medicine.

As we enter dark times, these disparate voices challenge the grand narratives of recrimination and despair, so that the universe appears afresh as a collection of wonders – bewildering objects, transforming passions and moments of transcendent awe. With such humbling comes a simplicity, a singleness of vision and a return to a more honest appraisal of what it means to be human.

As with all Dark Mountain publications, this book is a beautiful physical object, designed and typeset by our friends at Bracketpress in Lancashire, with colour plates for art works such as Rebecca Clark’s drawings, Rogan Brown’s ‘time fossils’ and landscapes by Kate Williamson. The contributors to Dark Mountain: Issue 9 include, amongst others, Patricia Robertson, Kim Goldberg, Bridget Khursheed, Ryan Vance and Holly Day.

The editors for this issue were Nancy Campbell, Charlotte Du Cann (art), Tom Smith, Em Strang (poetry) and Steve Wheeler.