Creative Writing

Inspired by birds

Mon 20 Nov / Quarterhouse

Two very different books partly inspired by birds, questioning our relationship to nature and the role of literature. Come and meet two writers not afraid to experiment and take their readers on stimulating journeys.

In As Kingfishers Catch Fire, Alex Preston tells how adolescence made him stop being a birdwatcher. Instead he began birdwatching in the books that he read, creating his own personal anthology of nature writing. Illuminated by the celebrated graphic artist Neil Gower, Preston weaves the very best writing about birds into a personal and eccentric narrative that is as much about the joy of reading and writing as it is about the thrill of wildlife.

Nicholas Royle’s An English Guide to Birdwatching combines a page-turning story about retirement in a coastal town, literary theft, adultery and ambition with a poetic and moving investigation into our relationship to birds and to the environment. It is exquisitely inventive and very funny, juxtaposing the stuff of scandalous gossip with scathing reports of how the world has gone to hell in a handcart. Playfully commenting on the main story are 17 interlinked ‘Hides’ beautifully illustrated by artist Natalia Gasson.

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