New York Times Australian Bureau Chief to Speak at CCA AGM

The New York Times Australian Bureau Chief, Damien Cave (pictured), will be the guest speaker at the Community Colleges Australia (CCA) Annual General Meeting (AGM), which will be held on Tuesday 30 November. Mr Cave, who opened the Sydney-based office of the Times in 2017, recently published his book, Into the Rip, in which he provides insights into how Australian life – especially the Australian approach to community – has enriched his and his family’s life in ways he did not expect. 

Extracts from Into the Rip

“As I watched my kids in the Sydney surf during the first few Sundays of Nippers, and started to engage with the waves myself, it became apparent that there was something deep and meaningful in the combination of fear, nature and community spirit.”

“What I’ve also seen and come to admire is the way people here live with a connection to the landscape and each other that makes physical and social fear a speed bump not a stop sign. In my experience, Australians are by and large an optimistic people inclined towards adventure, trust and fraternal, unpretentious acts of boldness that they often see as little more than community common sense.”

About Into the Rip

Into the Rip – with the subtitle “How the Australian Way of Risk Made My Family Stronger, Happier … and Less American” – is partly the story of Cave’s family learning to live better by living with the sea and partly the story of how humans manage the idea of risk. Cave asks critical questions like: Is safety overrated? Why do we miscalculate risk so often and how can we improve? Is it selfish to take risks or can more exposure make for stronger families, citizens and nations? How do we factor in legitimate fears and major disasters like those Cave has covered in Australia: the 2019/20 Black Summer fires, the Christchurch massacre and COVID-19.

What the reviewers say

“The inspiring, hilarious story of how Damien Cave became a life-saver – only to find that the life he saved was his own.” – Richard Glover

“It often takes a stranger’s eyes to see our own country clearly. By plunging into the Sydney surf, Damien Cave peered into the Australian soul. What he found there – courage, grit, community – is welcome news when our lives and our core values have never seemed so precarious.” – Geraldine Brooks

“A brilliant synthesis of a century of psychological science on how all of us can learn to dive headfirst into challenges, grow and adapt, and ultimately do well in life.” – Angela Duckworth

“A big-hearted account of a wild and wonderful ride into a new culture and a new way to live.” – Anna Funder

About Damien Cave

Prior to his arrival in Sydney, Damien Cave’s previous foreign reporting includes postings in Mexico City, covering Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, and in The Times’s Baghdad bureau from 2006 to 2007.

Mr Cave also served as chief of The Times’s Miami bureau. Since joining The Times in 2004, he has covered a range of topics, including military recruiting, New York City government and New Jersey politics.

Before coming to The Times, he was a staff writer and editor at Rolling Stone and

Mr Cave was among the group of finalists for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting. In addition, he was the leader of a small group of reporters that won the 2008 Overseas Press Club award for best international coverage on the web. He is a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and Boston College.

Listen to Damien Cave interviewed on ABC Radio National Life Matters (30 September).

Addendum, 30 November 2021: Watch Damien Cave’s talk to the CCA AGM on YouTube

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