Jesse Blackadder 2011
Ms Blackadder used her Fellowship to work on several projects but in particular to research an historic novel about Ingrid Christensen, the first woman to see Antarctica. The novel is part of Ms Blackadder’s Doctor of Creative Arts project at the University of Western Sydney.
Jesse Blackadder, from Myocum, in New South Wales, traveled to Antarctica on the Australian Antarctic Division icebreaker Aurora Australis, which left Hobart on 23 October, 2011 and returned in early December.
Her novel gives glimpses into the life of a woman on an Antarctic whaling ship in the 1930s. It also tells the story of how exploitative whaling devastated populations in the Southern Ocean.
Ms Blackadder, who writes extensively across a range of media, has also been sharing the experiences of her Antarctic trip through social media; magazine articles and as a subject for her academic project, presentations and lectures, including a talk at the State Library of New South Wales (January 24, 2012). Ms Blackadder has been writing fiction for 20 years specialising in environment, landcare and sustainability. Her works include After the Party, and The Raven’s Heart.
2011 marked the 100th anniversary of the departure in 1911 of the first Australasian Antarctic Expedition led by Sir Douglas Mawson, who established Australia's first base for scientific and geographical discovery at Cape Denison in Antarctica.
Jesse’s resulting novel Chasing the Light was published by HarperCollins in February 2013 to strong reviews. Her article ‘Heroines on the Ice’ about female experiences of Antarctica appeared in Australian Geographic in March 2013. Jesse’s essay ‘The first woman and the last dog in Antarctica’ won the 2012 Guy Morrison Prize for Literary Journalism.
Inspired by a dognapping incident on her field trip, Jesse has written a novel for 9-12 year olds about Antarctic canine legend ‘Stay’, published by HarperCollins.