Hardie Grant Travel acquires Steffensen’s book on Indigenous fire management
Hardie Grant Travel has acquired world rights to Fire Country, the memoir of Indigenous fire practitioner Victor Steffensen.
Steffensen is a Tagalaka descendant from Far North Queensland who is dedicated to revitalising ancient Indigenous fire knowledge across Australia and abroad. Along with his teachers, Awu-Laya elders George Musgrave and Tommy George, Steffensen created an initiative that helped revive Aboriginal fire practices in the remote Cape York Peninsula in 1992, with their ongoing work recognised by mainstream agencies.
Hardie Grant Travel acquired rights to the book in the past several weeks and decided to publish it in March 2020 due to the current surge of bushfires across Australia.
Publisher Melissa Kayser says, ‘I came across Victor’s work while reading reports of the recent bushfires, and once I understood how much of what’s happening across Australia is in fact avoidable, I felt it was necessary to bring this knowledge to a wider audience as soon as possible. I continue to be amazed by the generosity of First Nations people, as Victor’s main aim is to share his knowledge with all Australians. His writing is unassuming and honest, making his story incredibly compelling.’
Steffensen said he hopes Fire Country will be a turning point for younger generations of Australians to reconnect with the land again. ‘The process of implementing Aboriginal fire knowledge has been a long, hard road,’ said Steffensen. ‘This book comes with strong intentions to recognise and respect the value of Indigenous knowledge in the country that we share. With the rise of climate change and devastating wildfires degrading our landscapes, this book is written in the hope that people will reconnect with the land and prevail against one of the world’s toughest environmental challenges in its history.’