Updated: Jul 29
As I am sure you can imagine, when I am not in the bookshop or spending time with my family the majority of my time is taken up by reading and when driving I like to listen to people talking about reading. One of my favourite podcasts is BackListed with Andy Miller and John Mitchinson. If you have yet to discover this literary gem then you are in for an absolute treat. At the start of each podcast there is a discussion about what the presenters are currently reading and that, my friends, is how I discovered How To Catch A Mole by Marc Hamer.
Regulars to Madhatters over the past 12 month will have had a copy of "Moley" pressed into their hand at least once, probably the hardback because the cover is sublime. This book ignited my love of nature writing and I am thrilled that Marc Hamer will be at Burford Lit Fest. His second book Seed To Dust is also an absolute joy, not only a lyrical account of the loneliness and beauty of life on the margins but a study of our relationship with the earth and other animals. I defy you not to fall in love with these books.
Joining Marc on our Lit Fest Programme are some of the finest nature writers in the UK today including:
Derek Gow: Bringing Back The Beaver
This is the story of the 'farmer turned ecologist' and his quest to rewild Britain's waterways. As I am sure you can gleam from the title, this is a riotously funny first hand account of the movement to change the British landscape in the face of outright opposition from the Government and landowning elites. Bringing Back The Beaver is a magnificent account of the authors struggle to reintroduce a species crucial to the health of of our ecosystems.
Charles Foster: The Screaming Sky
Like the hardback edition of 'Moley' The Screaming Sky has a sublime cover and tells the story of the Common Swift. As you read about the euphoria of their Springtime arrival you become quickly aware that these birds are Charles Foster's joy and obsession, not just birds - indeed - anything is not 'just' anything. The Screaming Sky is a radical engagement with the infinite complexity of a species. Foster invites us to step back, look to the skies, and stand in awe of these magnificent birds as they travel over the cliff tops of Southern Spain and mingle with worshippers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Dr Richard Smith: The World Beneath
In September Marine-Biologist Dr Richard Smith should be working in Fiji but due to the way the world is at the moment his trip has been postponed and we are delighted that he is able to join us to introduce us to the worlds most fascinating sea-creatures. As well-as being a Marine-Biologist and Conservationist he is an award winning photographer and a distinguished public speaker and we are delighted to welcome him to the rich tapestry of nature writers at Burford Lit Fest.
Chris Salisbury: Wild Nights Out
More than 80% of us live under light-polluted skies but it's never too late to embrace the darkness.
With a foreward by Chris Packham Wild Nights Out is a wonderful invitation to rediscover the dark and all things that cry, creep or glow! Chris will be inviting us to explore the mysterious folds of darkness and teaching us how to reframe our relationship with the dark and get the best out of the night. The perfect nocturnal empowerment for the curious of every age!
Ken Walpole: No Matter How Many Skies Have Fallen
In 1943 a group of pacifists took possession of a vacant farm in Frating on the Essex Peninsula. There, they established a working community, inspired by their association with The Adelphi Journal where D.H. Lawrence, Vera Brittain, Iris Murdoch, George Orwell and many others had shared their ideas. Over time it became a successful arable and livestock farm. Together with photographs, letters and records, social historian, Ken Warpole has written a kaleidoscopic history and an enquiry into the religious and political ideals of the back-to-the-land movement in post war rural England.
Join us and immerse yourself in the beauty of our natural world