Tents Pitched, Fires Lit: Basecamp

is the co-founder of the Dark Mountain Project, of which he was director from 2009-2017, He is the author of nine books - three novels, two poetry collections and four works of non-fiction - all of which, it turns out, tell the same story: how we walked away from the wild world, and how we might get home again, if we can. He runs the Wyrd School which teaches wild writing and art and lives in the west of Ireland.
Taking a break, leaning on our walking sticks or trekking poles, or unlacing our boots by the warming fire, we can report that the first stage of the Dark Mountain expedition has reached its destination.

We can report, to be specific, two things which have only happened because Dark Mountaineers across the world have made them happen. Firstly, we have reached our fundraising target for the production of issue one of Dark Mountain. We have pre-sold almost 100 journals, and two very generous private donations made up the difference. Thank you to everyone for making this happen; it’s a great example of how co-operation and mutual commitment can drive a project forward. We’re going to go on pre-selling journals through the Indiegogo site until publication day, so it’s by no means too late to reserve one if you would like to.

Secondly, the meat: the first issue of Dark Mountain has been compiled, edited and sent to our typesetters at Bracketpress. We’re really genuinely excited by this. It has thrown up a lot of surprises for us, and of the best kind; in particular, we have come across writers and artists we had never heard of before, some of whom have not yet been published anywhere else. We think that what they have produced makes up a brilliant first collection of Uncivilised work, and a real pointer to the possible direction that we should move in next. Or, as we put it in our editorial:

This is the voice of the megaphone: the words that would be unacceptable in civilised conversation, the call to cut through the old tales which bind our understanding and to rediscover those which can ground us in the realities of the only world we ever had. If the manifesto represented the start of an expedition into the unknown, this volume represents the establishment of a base camp in the foothills of some dark and uncharted range.

The manifesto will be launched at the Dark Mountain Festival in May, which is also shaping up to be very exciting; more details on that in the next month or so when he have drawn breath and rested. Below, meanwhile is a sneak preview of the contents page of Dark Mountain, with links to some of the writers and artists we are publishing.

Salutations to all who have walked this distance with us. The first signs are promising; the land is fertile, the walking is good, and the horizon is full of promise and beauty.

Dark Mountain: Issue One


In the Wasteland, Rupert Cathles
The tragedy of the Tragedy Of The Commons, Simon Fairlie
The falling years: an inhumanist vision , John Michael Greer
This England, Jay Griffiths
Death and the mountain, Dougald Hine
Poetry’s compost, Glyn Hughes
Confessions of a recovering environmentalist, Paul Kingsnorth
Popping the Gygian question, Alastair McIntosh
W(h)ither science?, Jeff Ollerton
Stories of the future, Chris Pak
Three hot drops of salmon oil,  Mario Petrucci
Beyond civilised and primitive, Ran Prieur
Hostage, Maria Stadtmueller


Loss soup, To the bone, Nick Hunt
the lost gods, Paul Kingsnorth
The Wanderbuch of Christopher Jansen, Simon Lys


from words like axes, Lewis Bassett
White Out, Christine Bousfield
At Pencarrow Lighthouse, a dirge, Seamus Brady
Paradise, The Thorn, Melanie Challenger
from The Way Home, Charles Davies
An Sgurr, Dan Grace
Traffic, William Haas
To the Morning Sun, Glyn Hughes
Wrong turn, Violence on television, Louis Jenkins
I went looking for the wild one, Rob Lewis
Vision, Adrienne Odasso
In hay, Mario Petrucci
Stain, Tom Scott
In Time of Pestilence, Tony Walton
On the neck of the bull, Mark Waters
from Grandmother Says, J. D. Whitney


Vinay Gupta, in conversation with Dougald Hine
Derrick Jensen, in conversation with Anthony McCann

Visual Art

When did it start going wrong?, Christian de Sousa
Paintings, Lance Fennell
The lesson, Daniel Ford and Mark Dixon
The layers, Kim Holleman
Drawing on sand, Mat Osmond
Innocence is God’s only face, Reinhardt Søbye


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