Resurrection Plant


This week I am giving a workshop on writing memoir. I have asked the students to bring some objects that will inspire them, will stimulate their memories. When I was looking for something of my own to take to the workshop, I found a lovely thing that used to be kept in a glass-fronted cabinet in my childhood home. It was a carved pepper pot containing, instead of pepper, an old twig. This twig had been brought to Australia from the Middle East after the First World War. It’s called the Rose of Jericho, or the Resurrection Plant. When you immerse the ancient twig in water for about twenty minutes, the gnarled little claw unfolds, opens out, breathes, and it takes the form of a strange brown twiggy flower on a stalk. Bubbles of oxygen form along the fronds. Above are pictures of the pepper pot and the plant. The apparently dead twig is lying there alone. Maybe one day soon I will post a picture of it as it floats in water, resurrected.



“How to describe Field of Poppies? A lush feast of wit and wisdom? Writing so rich you simply want to devour it?  A forensic examination of an Australian country town?

Literary tour de force will have to do.”      Robert Drewe

“All the Bird trademark strands – beauty, shock and horror, a genuine story based in the reality of the world, complex imagery, elegant irony and compelling prose.”

Gabrielle Lord

“Field of Poppies is an absolute feast of wit and wisdom. Carmel Bird embroiders a seemingly simple story with the most wonderful observations and colourful mischief. This novel resonates with a long list of contemporary problems. It does so using humour, not anger. It is fun – wry, intelligent, searching, poised and astute. It showcases the human catastrophe with grace and charm. It takes years of experience for a writer to be able to pull off this kind of sorcery. It is wonderful to see Carmel Bird working with such zest and verve.”        Michael McGirr

“Sharp yet sensitive, wildly imaginative, and layered with allusion and allegory. Bird’s vivid characters weave together local legend, small-town speculation, art, literature and science in their narration of their selves and lives, all but ignoring the social and ecological destruction taking place around them.

A truly remarkable achievement from a novelist at the height of her powers.”

Fiona Wright

“Bold and playful, sharply funny and humane, Carmel Bird’s timely social satire shimmers with layers. She has a gift for distilling the essence of her characters and locations and bringing them together in wonderfully unexpected ways. Her distinctive voice and lightness of touch shine in this penetrating and evocative novel.”

Michael Sala

“Highly engaging storytelling that blends and layers reality and extravaganza with ingenious irony, wit and subtlety.”          Gerardo Rodriguez Salas