Tom Bamforth is a writer whose work has appeared in Granta, Griffith Review, Meanjin, Guardian and The Age.
He is the author of The Rising Tide: among the islands and atolls of the Pacific Ocean and Deep Field: dispatches from the frontlines of humanitarian aid relief.
Based on his extensive travels in the Pacific, Tom Bamforth shows us the people of the islands, their cultures and their lives. From uprisings in New Caledonia to tsunamis in Tonga, this is a book about interaction, race, colonisation, climate change, nuclear testing, resistance, cultural preservation, urban life, the tastiness of well roasted pig and the pleasures of canoeing at dusk.
The Rising Tide masterfully weaves together stories of Pacific peoples and politics at the forefront of global change.
“Enter the ‘highly politicized and ruthless world of a major humanitarian operation for a roller-coaster of a read. Bamforth is a savvy and sagacious guide, explaining in depth the complexities that underpin and undermine efforts to stabilize countries experiencing state collapse, natural disasters or conflict. He’s also one hell of a storyteller and wordsmith: astute, descriptive, ironic, funny and philosophical. Bamforth illuminates the intricacies and entanglements of history, politics and self-interest and introduces us to the eccentrics who keep ploughing through it all for a better world. Verdict: Astonishing” Herald Sun
“It reads as if Don Delillo had been sent to Darfur” John Freeman, Granta
A group of Australia’s most senior former fire and emergency services leaders asked to see the Prime Minister for an urgent meeting about impending bushfire catastrophe. The reply was no. #60Mins
"One can demand from newcomers to the country that they respect its laws or the social contract that binds all citizens, but not that they love it. ... Only totalitarian societies make it obligatory to love one’s country.” Tzvetan Todorov
Scott Morrison brings lump of coronavirus into parliament #CoronaVirusOutbreak https://chaser.com.au/national/scott-morrison-brings-lump-of-coronavirus-into-parliament/
Days since referendum: 1314
Days till we leave: 3
Cost of Brexit so far: £130bn
Tangible benefits: 0
The lesson is that privacy is public — it is a collective good that is logically and morally inseparable from the values of human autonomy and self-determination upon which privacy depends and without which a democratic society is unimaginable. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/24/opinion/sunday/surveillance-capitalism.html
Adventures in a nuclear Pacific Meanjin 78/1 (2019)
The Men in Green: encounters with populism in the Pacific Griffith Review 57 (2017)
Green and Pleasant Memories: the afterlife of an Olympic Village Griffith Review 53 (2016)
How to Survive an Earthquake Griffith Review 35 (2012)
The Mission Granta 117 (2011)
Talks & interviews
The new frontiers of travel writing Wheeler Centre
Travel writing ABC Radio National
The Pacific’s rising human tide ABC Radio National
Past meets present in a Berlin refugee camp Inside Story 14/11/2018
Antonovs, technicals and the insane logic of war in the desert Inside Story 26/3/2014
For ‘rough’ neighbourhood born from Olympic ideals, a new pride The Age 29/04/2018
While the world’s attention is elsewhere, Bangladesh faces a humanitarian crisis Guardian 12/09/2017
Reflections of a humanitarian aid worker: an interview with Tom Bamforth Devpolicy (ANU Development Policy Centre) 30 July 2014 with Margaret Callan
Turning our backs on foreign aid Saturday Paper 21/6/2014