Acclaimed nature writer Patrick Barkham's anthology brings together the very best nature writing from every corner of the archipelago.
From Thomas Hardy's idyllic 'Wessex' to Nan Shepherd's fiercely beautiful Cairngorm mountains, the British landscape has been imagined and reimagined through our literature for as long as we can remember. Literature of the land has become part of our collective identity, seeped into our stories, and shaped the way we think about a place.
The chosen pieces in this anthology celebrate our landscape in all its rich diversity, yet also touch on some of the issues facing the natural world today. Arranged in themes – from woods to birds and from childhood to future nature – The Wild Isles includes extracts from much-loved classics alongside passages by some of our finest contemporary writers such as Robert Macfarlane and Helen Macdonald. They are joined by new pieces from writers often underrepresented in nature writing. It is only in the twenty-first century that nature writing by women has begun being widely published, and only in the last decade that BAME authors are being published in this genre. Barkham's belief that it is vital that we are helped to see our landscapes through new eyes, and in new ways, whilst still celebrating long-loved classics too, makes the collection exceptional.
These voices from the past and present will bring wonder as they journey around our fields, mountains and coastlines, exploring, describing and celebrating our landscapes in all their rich diversity.
'Brimming with nature, this is a fitting tribute to the strangeness and beauty of our British isles' Financial Times, on Islander.
'Real, proper, close-to-poetry literature from the heralded nature writer. It is an ambitious thing, a hybrid of practical and ethereal. Barkham's best chapters made me want to drop everything and go there. An intriguing, cerebral guidebook' The Times, on Coastlines.
'"Every day," writes Barkham, "there is something surprising, joyful and new to be found beside the sea." The same might be said of many pages of his book. A delightful book' **** Sunday Telegraph, on Coastlines.
'To successfully combine this kind of travel writing and natural history with theories about cultural history requires accessible, rhythmic prose and a genial narrative voice, and [...] Barkham has both' Independent, 'Book of the Week', on Coastlines.