Nature writing not by white men

Hey, there’s more to nature writing than grasping a willowy twig and staring wistfully into the distance all manfully because you’re a big old masculine nature writing fella. In a genre dominated by white men, we urge you to dig deeper.

The Grassling, by Elizabeth Jane Burnett

Poetic, evocative, hallucinatory and urgent on the need for connection to our surroundings, Burnett’s short but searingly beautiful opus draws on her British-Kenyan heritage as she seeks to sink her feet more deeply into the earth of Devon.

Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson

Few writers can lay claim to kicking off a whole movement, but Silent Spring brought previously unparalleled awareness to pesticides when it was originally released back in 1962, and subsequently inspired a generation of ecological activism. For the modern reader, there are still many (depressingly) salient points to soak in about humanity’s effect on the planet, all coolly related and worryingly prescient.

Two Trees Make A Forest, by Jessica J Lee

A beautiful commingling of memoir and an assessment of the multifarious natural traits of the island of Taiwan, this book is rich in emotional detail and how family connects us to certain places. Lee finds letters written by her immigrant grandfather and, from that starting point, begins her voyage of discovery.

A Woman in the Polar Night, by Christiane Ritter

Crunchy and vivid true-life account of the author’s relocation to the Arctic island of Spitsbergen in 1934. Imagining it to be a chance to curl up by the fire and get some books read, she soon realises that the remoteness of her location and the harshness of the environment are something to be feared, not embraced.

Wanderland, by Jini Reddy

A London journalist leaves the safe haven of her citadel in search of magic in the countryside, inspired by a mysterious voice she heard at the top of a Pyrenean mountain in the dead of night. This is the warm and touching story of what she discovered on the way, taking in tree whisperers, psychic mediums and the most esoteric corners of the British natural world.

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