2021 longlist for Nature Writing

 

Birdsong in a Time of Silence by Steven Lovatt

As the world went silent in lockdown, something else happened; for the first time, many of us started becoming more aware of the spring sounds of the birds around us. Birdsong in a Time of Silence is a lyrical, uplifting reflection on these sounds and what they mean to us.

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English Pastoral: An Inheritance by James Rebanks

English Pastoral tells the story of James Rebanks’s small family farm in the Lake District, and how it was transformed over the course of three generations. It is the story of how the old farming ways were lost – along with the community and wildlife that once thrived on the fells – and how they are now being brought back.

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Featherhood by Charlie Gilmour

This is the story about a love affair between a man and a magpie that fell from its nest and into Charlie Gilmour’s life. It is also the story about fathers and sons; about a terror of repeating the sins of the father and a desire to build a nest of one’s own.

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I Belong Here by Anita Sethi

Anita Sethi was on a journey when she became the victim of a race hate crime. Afterwards, the Pennines called to Anita; though a racist had told her to leave, she was intent on travelling freely and without fear; She Belongs Here.

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Into The Tangled Bank by Lev Parikian

It’s often said that the British are a nation of nature lovers, but what does that really mean? Warm, humorous and ever-the-enthusiast, Lev Parikian is on a journey – from pavement to garden, from wildlife reserve to far-flung island – to discover the quirks, habits and foibles of how we experience nature.

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Seed to Dust by Marc Hamer

In this life-enhancing book, Marc Hamer takes us month-by-month through his experiences both working in the garden and outside it, as the seasons’ changes bring new plants and wildlife to the fore and lead him to reflect on his past and future.

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Skylarks with Rosie by Stephen Moss

As spring arrives, Stephen Moss’s Somerset garden is awash with birdsong. But this equinox is unlike any other. As the nation locks down, Stephen records the wildlife around his home, with his Labrador, Rosie, by his side.

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The Circling Sky by Neil Ansell

In the form of several journeys Neil Ansell returns for solitary walks to the New Forest in Hampshire, close to where he was born. With beautiful sightings and observations of flora and fauna, this is also a reflective memoir on childhood, on the history of one of the most important natural habitats, and on the Gypsies who lived there for centuries.

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The Screaming Sky by Charles Foster

This is a radical new look at the Common Swift. Swifts live in perpetual summer. They inhabit the air like nothing on the planet. They watched the continents shuffle to their present places and the mammals evolve. They are not ours, though we like to claim them

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The Stubborn Light of Things: A Nature Diary by Melissa Harrison

Moving from scrappy London verges to ancient, rural Suffolk, this diary – compiled from Melissa Harrison’s beloved ‘Nature Notebook’ column in The Times – maps her joyful engagement with the natural world and demonstrates how we must first learn to see, and then act to preserve, the beauty we have on our doorsteps – no matter where we live.

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The Wild Silence by Raynor Winn

In The Salt Path Raynor and her husband Moth head to the windswept coastline to try to find a way through homelessness, and ultimately to find themselves. Now in The Wild Silence they come back to four walls, but the sense of home is elusive and returning to normality is not easy.

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Thin Places by Kerri ní Dochartaigh

Kerri ní Dochartaigh was born in Derry at the very height of the Troubles. One parent was Catholic, the other Protestant. In the space of a year Kerri’s family were forced out of two homes and when she was eleven a homemade petrol bomb was thrown through her bedroom window. For families like hers, terror was in the very fabric of the city.

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Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald

From the bestselling author of H is for Hawk comes Vesper Flights, a transcendent collection of essays about the human relationship to the natural world. Vesper Flights is a book about observation, fascination, time, memory, love and loss and how we make the world around us.

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