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Root & Branch

Essays on inheritance

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** Winner, Victoria Premier’s Literary Awards 2023, Non-fiction **

** Shortlisted, The ABIA's Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year 2023 **

I have come to see that I am an argumentative person who is frequently convinced that my angle, my take, on a matter, is the right one. This kind of delusional self-belief is not rewarded in many other spheres of social life, so I write essays. 

There is a Turkish saying that one’s home is not where one is born, but where one grows full – doğduğun yer değil, doyduğun yer. Exquisitely written, Root & Branch unsettles neat descriptions of inheritance, belonging and place. Eda Gunaydin’s essays ask: what are the legacies of migration, apart from loss? And how do we find comfort in where we are? 

Gunaydin’s work, and it is work, lands with a deceptive lightness on the page and its readers. Its weight grows on us over time – reminders of the daily inheritance of trauma, responsibility and structures over which we can only sometimes wrest control. Forget vital or necessary. Root & Branch is knowing and real.’

Alison Whittaker

I was utterly transfixed. The Eda of Gunaydin’s formidable essays is shrewd, compassionate, revolutionary, and yes, unmistakably a genius. This book is the exorcism I’ve been waiting for.’

Ellena Savage

It takes immense skill to weave personal narratives seamlessly into broader conversations and complex social commentary. To do so in an effortless manner, as Gunaydin has accomplished, is pure alchemy. This is a book I will revisit many times for both the beauty of its language and for the generous opportunities to think and learn alongside the writer.’

Eileen Chong

What has always struck me about Eda Gunaydin’s essays is their remarkable and balanced movement, the deft way they bring together a fierce intelligence and political consciousness with a depth and complexity of feeling, as well as a wicked sense of humour and of the absurd. They are forthright and passionate, but also playful, cynical and sharp’

Fiona Wright

Root & Branch is a book of autobiographical essays that pay careful attention to, in Gunaydin’s words, “the materiality of living”: sore feet, varicose veins, fast food and other everyday events in working-class life. It is also funny, self-deprecating, self-dramatising and hopeful: a searching and multi-faceted debut.’

Anwen Crawford

Gunaydin is a gifted essayist driven by an honest desire to see society transformed, “to alter the conditions of everyday existence, so that there’s nothing that we need to be saved from”. Gunaydin’s ability to combine a searing intellect with wit and ingenuity is breathtaking.’

Books + Publishing

Exuberant writing that is at turns funny, sarcastic and dark.'

May Ngo, Meanjin

This read will keep you thinking long after you put it down.'

Marie Claire

Ferociously intelligent.'

Ruth Balint, The Conversation

The writing is both forthright and vulnerable; Gunaydin offers a compassionate take on humanity and reveals a witty and powerful intellect.'

Sista Zai Zanda, The Big Issue

Important and significant. Much more so than most other books, Root & Branch has the potential to leave a unique, lasting impression on the reader.’

Roland Leikauf, Australian Maritime Museum's Curator of Post-War Immigration, Signals magazine