Caught by the River


21st April 2019

Our latest roundup of recommended reads, watches, and listens

‘There’s nothing as red as a bank of seaweed backlit in the afternoon. Soft stones and bristly grass. Shattered craggy chaos—with unexpectedly smooth sandy floors and the untouched miniature landscapes mirrored in the blackness of basins.’ Read Tove Jansson short story-cum-essay-cum-prose poem The Island, translated into English for the very first time for The Paris Review.

‘My name is the link to my Jewishness, such that it is; the link to boiling Hungarian summers; eating lángos in the waterpark in my bright green swimsuit; Eszterházy cake in the cool, golden billowing of Café Gerbeaud.’ Writing in Granta, Rebecca Tamás considers the power of a name. (Rebecca appears on our stage at this year’s Port Eliot Festival – more info here.)

In the world of poetry, we’ve been digging Aonghas MacNeacail’s ‘Primula Scotica at Yesnaby‘ & Emily Berry’s ‘No Name‘.

Across the 5 episodes of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Cornerstones’, Alan Garner, Sara Maitland, Esther Woolfson, Rose Ferraby and Fiona Hamilton present programmes on flint, Lewisian gneiss, granite, gypsum and clay.

‘Middle-class architects with utopian ideals might be able to appreciate the solidity and the magnitude of a huge hunk of concrete with lives carved unapologetically into it, but when that becomes your reality and you have no choice and no way out, when you’re living every day under the shadow of someone else’s vision it becomes oppressive, the weight of their dreams crushing the life out of you.’ Read an extract from Jessica Andrews’ upcoming debut novel Saltwater – and then buy a ticket to come and see her talk about it at our first ever fiction event.

Over on The Island Review, Anna Iltnere of the wonderful Sea Library puts six questions to William Atkins.

Meander Along the Headwaters: as part of their ‘River Full of Stories’ project, Lou and Richard from the Open Bridges blog go in search of the source of the River Hull.

To highlight the loss of more than 40m wild birds from the UK in just half a century, The RSPB is releasing a track of birdsong called ‘Let Nature Sing’, featuring some of the most recognisable birdsongs in the UK (including cuckoo, curlew, nightingale, crane and turtle dove.) You can read all about it, and how to help get it into the charts, here.

16-year-old Greta Thunberg’s Davos speech on climate change – and everything else she’s saying and doing at the moment. Woah.

And finally, for the Canal & River Trust’s Waterfront magazine, Jim Ghedi shares childhood memories of rivers and the water-related books and music that have inspired him. Lovely.