UPDATE (12 May, 2015): the last few copies of this are in the shop, priced £15.
The time has come to announce our new book. On Nature, the follow up to 2009’s Words on Water, is scheduled for publication by Harper Collins at the end of next month.
The original concept was a guide book, a sort of Caught by the River guide to country pursuits, with contributors sharing their enthusiasm for their particular outdoor passions, but as soon as Bill Drummond said that he would like to write about damsons, we knew that our original brief had gone askew. So we embraced it. In the hands of people like Bill, our ‘how to’ guide soon became something very, very different. Before long, we were looking at a kaleidoscopic vision of Britain, one where writers talked about their connection to the land in a series of stories that would hopefully inspire action. Here, life on remote islands was not only possible, it was desirable. Watching the seasons change through a Welsh kitchen window took on the elemental lyrical ebb and flow of an R.S. Thomas poem. Angling stories became boy’s own adventures; falconry an obvious pastime for daydreaming urban naturalists.
Looking at the finished article, On Nature is a collection of stories highlighting the kind of uncontrollable driving forces that get people up at 4am to cast off in the half-light or to go mushroom hunting in dewy meadows. It’s about watching and listening; digging in, taking part. It’s about people’s passions for the countryside – the kind that start out as hobbies before turning into unshakable obsessions.
Charles Rangeley-Wilson summed it up perfectly in his contribution on trout fishing. To quote him, “I wonder then if the best way of describing the how is to start at the beginning with the why: if at the beginning of the how there is a passion – encompassing all the associated meanings of that word: desire, compulsion, infatuation – once found it will guide the rest of the discovery. With passion in your tackle bag the how will ultimately take care of itself.”
So, whether using tackle bag or train ticket, a pair of binoculars or just a pair of ears, On Nature maps Britain in sights, sounds and subtle memories, offering jumping in points and inspirations for eager urban naturalists everywhere.
The book features contributions from some of our regular contributors alongside a host of new names to us. In it, you’ll find the likes of Chris Yates, Stuart Maconie, Tracey Thorn, John Andrews, Richard King, Dan Kieran, Michael Smith, Ian Vince, Martin Noble, Jon Berry. Colin Elford, Mark Dredge, Dexter Petley, Ceri Levy, Nick Small, Nick Hand, Sarah Boden, John Wright and a load more people waxing passionately about all aspects of the British countryside. It’s also phenomenally illustrated by Jon McNaught.
We’re really proud of the book. Now, we’ve just got to take it on board and get ourselves outside…
On Nature (Hardback) will be available for pre-order from the Caught by the River shop as of today. The first 100 books sold via the site will be signed by the editors (that’s us) and the illustrator, Jon McNaught, and sold at the discounted price of £17.99. Publication/shipping date 23 June 2011.