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
Typical @LRB headline, mincing around vaguely, refusing to get to the heart of the matter.
I wrote a piece for @GuardianAus on maps and the people who love them https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2019/oct/20/the-perfect-combination-of-art-and-science-mourning-the-end-of-paper-maps?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Tweet
Keir Starmer has actually READ the proposed agreement in crucial detail and thought deeply and forensically about it - and then argues responsibly from that detail. Brilliant but makes everyone WISH he were leader...
https://devpolicy.org/island-song-a-week-in-tuvalu-20191018/ an extract from ‘The Rising Tide’ in Devpolicy.
Last year I co-authored this letter with Joseph Stiglitz and other key figures, critiquing the RCT approach to development championed by Esther Duflo. Now that Duflo et al have won the Nobel prize, it seems appropriate to raise the critique once more. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/jul/16/buzzwords-crazes-broken-aid-system-poverty
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