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Women on Nature

By Katharine Norbury

A wide-ranging and timely new perspective on writing about the natural world and our place within it

Nature | Women
142% funded
866 supporters
Published

Publication date: May 2021

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This scintillating anthology provides a timely new perspective on women’s writing about the natural world.

There has, in recent years, been an explosion of writing about place, landscape and the natural world. But within this blossoming of interest, women’s voices have remained very much in the minority.

In Women on Nature, Katharine Norbury has sifted through the pages of women’s fiction, poetry, household planners, gardening diaries and recipe books to show the multitude of ways in which they have observed and recorded the natural world about them, from the fourteenth-century writing of the anchorite Julian of Norwich to the seventeenth-century travel journal of Celia Fiennes; from the keen observations of Emily Brontë to the brilliant new voices throughout our archipelago writing today.

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$40  + shipping
574 pledges

Hardback

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$15 
164 pledges

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  • Katharine Norbury avatar

    Katharine Norbury

    Katharine Norbury is the author of The Fish Ladder which was shortlisted for the 2016 Wainwright Prize, longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and was a Book of the Year in the GuardianTelegraph and Observer newspapers. She has contributed to the Observer, the Guardian, the TelegraphThe Washington Post, Caught by the River and Lonely Planet magazine.

    @kjnorbury

  • One time, however, we were near quarrelling. He said the pleasantest manner of spending a hot July day was lying from morning till evening on a bank of heath on the middle of the moors, with bees humming dreamily about among the bloom, and the larks singing high up over head, and the blue sky and bright sun shining steadily and cloudlessly. That was his most perfect idea of heaven's happiness: mine was rocking in a rustling green tree with a west wind blowing, and bright white clouds flitting rapidly above; and not only larks, but throstles, and blackbirds, and linnets, and cuckoos pouring out music on every side, and the moors seen at a distance, broken into cool dusky dells; but close by great swells of long grass undulating in waves to the breeze; and woods and sounding water, and the whole world awake and wild with joy. He wanted all to lie in an ecstacy of peace; I wanted all to sparkle, and dance in a glorious jubilee. I said his heaven would be only half alive, and he said mine would be drunk: I said I should fall asleep in his; and he said he could not breathe in mine, and began to grow very snappish. At last, we agreed to try both, as soon as the right weather came and then we kissed each other and were friends.

    Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

    Read more...
  • 22nd January 2021 Thank you for the days

    Traditional models of writing about the natural world often imply a certain level of athleticism, of striding out into a landscape, of getting into inaccessible places. Yet several of the writers in this anthology are living with long-term health conditions or disability and have searched for and found succour in a micro-, rather than a macro-, experience of nature. Emma Mitchell writes movingly from…

    19th January 2021 Three Dorothys

    Many of you have been complimentary of Holly Ovenden’s cover design for Women on Nature. When Jane Wellesley, the granddaughter of the poet Dorothy Wellesley, saw it she sent me this beautiful watercolour of snakes head fritillaries which her grandmother had painted. Fritillaries also appear in Vita Sackville-West’s poem, The Land, and is one of the many connections and synergies which have kept appearing…

    27th November 2020 We have a cover!

    I know this must come as 'blast from the past' as it is two years since you helped make Women On Nature a reality. Huge thanks to everyone who has pre-ordered the book.

    I have learned the hard way that an inordinate amount of work goes into creating an anthology! 

    During the summer - as for so many folk - my regular work evaporated and I had the good fortune to stay at the RSPB's site at Haweswater…

    20th September 2018 Autumn

    As this long hot summer finally slips behind us I am hunkering down to the task of sifting through the words of dozens of women, written over hundreds of years, and finally beginning to tease Women on Nature into existence. There is new writing, too, with essays by Jessica J. Lee, who wrote the wonderful "Turning" - about a year of lake swimming, and Anita Sethi, who has written an account of…

    28th May 2018 98% funded!

     I’m absolutely delighted to say we are only 2% short of the funding target. Huge thanks to all of you for getting us this far. This anthology promises to be a glittering collection of women’s writing about the natural world. One last little push is all it needs - please do encourage family and friends to preorder Women on Nature - remind them the ebook is only a tenner! Warmest wishes and heartfelt…

    14th April 2018 I have had the most extraordinary vision!

    Dear Friends,

    I have woken up with the most extraordinary vision! To create a patchwork, an interconnecting network, of locally sourced wildflower hay meadow corridors that run the length and breadth of our archipelago, and using a percentage of the profits from Women On Nature to fund it. Working title... ask me when I've had a coffee. The Wildflower Haymeadow Initiative?

    I've been trying to…

    5th March 2018 Women on Nature

    When Unbound asked if I would be interested in curating an anthology of women’s writing about the natural world, I couldn’t believe it hadn’t been done already.  When Susan Griffin published her controversial book Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her in 1978 it became a deeply controversial cornerstone of feminist literature. It’s starting point was that women were somehow perceived to be  ‘closer…

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  • Helene Clay
    Helene Clay asked:

    Hello, what a great project! Will it be an anthology of already published work, or are you looking for fresh material?

    Katharine Norbury
    Katharine Norbury replied:

    Hi Helene Please forgive the delay in replying - I locked myself out of the account! The anthology will be about 80,000 words and cover about 700 words. I will be including new material but I'm not sure how much of that which I already have I will be able to include, simply as a matter of space. Are you a writer? (Forgive me I am not familiar with your work, if that is the case). Best wishes, Katharine

    Alexi Francis
    Alexi Francis asked:

    Hi Katharine, I guess you're really busy with this but I hope you don't mind me asking, are you looking for any nature writing pieces for the anthology? I was in the process of writing a book of nature writing exploring wildlife encounters through dusk, night and dawn. I'm no longer continuing with the project at present but I do have various short pieces (around 800-1000 words) about being in the natural world. I just wondered whether you'd be interested in seeing any? I have been published in the Seasons anthologies (Elliott and Thompson), literary journals and websites and I won a year's mentoring with Amy Liptrot. Some of my writing can be seen on my website here: http://www.alexifrancis.co.uk/ If you need any illustrations I do pen and ink work too. I totally understand if you're not interested or have enough material. I'm looking forward to reading the book, Best wishes Alexi Francis

    Katharine Norbury
    Katharine Norbury replied:

    Hi Alexi, have DMed you.

    Jilly Stanton-Huxton
    Jilly Stanton-Huxton asked:

    Hi Katharine, I've just read about this in the April edition of The Countryman. It sounds like an exciting and rewarding project to be working on. I am a freelance writer and (most recently) author, having just published my first children's book 'Harvey and the Moon Bus'. I am also a Nature writer and have had several articles published, the most recent 'The Enchanted Wood' in This England. If you need new material for the anthology please let me know. Good luck with the project...I will now be making a pledge and sharing this for you. Best wishes Jill Stanton-Huxton

    Katharine Norbury
    Katharine Norbury replied:

    Jilly, thank you for your support. I will DM you via twitter!

    Paula Knight
    Paula Knight asked:

    Hi Katharine, What a fine project and sorry to have only noticed it today! It's probably far too late to be asking, but are you open to submissions? I'm a writer, graphic novelist, illustrator and comics creator exploring nature and health in my work. My graphic novel The Facts of Life (Myriad Editions 2017) was structured around tree planting as a memorial to childlessness, and I used nature as visual metaphor throughout. A modified extract 'Growing Stronger', focusing on the tree planting story, was published in Simple Things magazine last year. I started keeping an experimental nature writing diary last year when I was housebound and becoming increasingly disabled with ME. Since June I've been bedridden, and I now record the diary vocally (it is being transcribed). I'd love to submit if that is possible but understand if not. Good luck with the project, and I look forward to adding this book to my growing collection of women nature writers. (I'm currently entranced by Rachel Carson's The Edge of the Sea on audiobook!)

    Katharine Norbury
    Katharine Norbury replied:

    Hello Paula, I've just seen this and can't tell when it was left. (I am poor at negotiating online and have missed these messages. I was off-line for much of the summer while editing the m/s in a remote place with intermittent cover). I am so sorry to have only come across this here and now when we are so close to publication and wish you all good things for your recovery.

    Suzi Richer
    Suzi Richer asked:

    Hi Katherine, Along the lines of the previous questions, are you still accepting submissions? Or are there plans for a second anthology? I'm an environmental archaeologist and my work focuses on our relationship with the natural world (past and present). Most of my published writing is in scientific/academic journals, I am currently exploring pushing these ideas to a wider audience through creative writing. Either way, I'm very much looking forward to reading the anthology! Suzi

    Katharine Norbury
    Katharine Norbury replied:

    Hello Suzi, sorry, I am having trouble negotiating the site and can't tell when you wrote. I have only just come across a string of messages. Unfortunately we are now proofing the final m/s. Thank you so much for your support and good luck with your own writing.

    Lauren Maltas
    Lauren Maltas asked:

    Hi Katharine, hope you're well, I found out about your wonderful project on Twitter today. I'm currently writing along these lines too, and wondered if you are still looking for contributors? Absolutely no problem if not, I just had to ask! I've had a piece which combines natural themes with more social issues like loneliness and ageing, published by Caught by the River most recently. There's a link to it here if you'd be interested in having a read: https://www.caughtbytheriver.net/2019/04/wireless-short-story/ Will be sharing this project where I can to get the word around! Hope to hear from you soon, Lauren

    Katharine Norbury
    Katharine Norbury replied:

    Hi Lauren, I have had difficulty negotiating the site and have just now come across your message. I apologise therefore for the late reply. Alas we are now proofing final m/s but thank you so much for your interest and good luck with your own writing. I am a huge fan of Caught by the River!

    Joanna Dobson
    Joanna Dobson asked:

    Hi Katharine - I am a supporter of this wonderful project and I just saw on Twitter that you are still looking for new voices for it. I would love to send you an example of my work. I write about urban nature, especially street trees and my allotment, and am working on a memoir about nature and grief with funding from a full PhD scholarship. If you are interested, perhaps you could DM me @JoannaCDobson (I follow you, of course!). I understand if you are not interested, but I'm trying to be bolder about this kind of thing! Best wishes Joanna

    Katharine Norbury
    Katharine Norbury replied:

    Will DM, thanks Joanna. Sorry for delay, I have a learning difficulty and couldn't find the questions!!

    Jennie Hobbs
    Jennie Hobbs asked:

    Greetings, Katharine! We are very much looking forward to this beautiful work. Any updates?

    Katharine Norbury
    Katharine Norbury replied:

    Hello Jennie, Greetings! Doubtless you sent this ages ago - I have just come across a tranche of messages so I do apologise. I was 'running silent' while going through the massive task of researching and assembling the anthology, which includes several pieces which are out of print and which therefore had to be copied out by hand. In essence, we are close to publication, which will be in the Spring. I will make an 'update' in the next few days... Warmest wishes and thanks, Kate

    Melanie Benn
    Melanie Benn asked:

    Hi Katherine just wondered how you were getting on with the project.

    Katharine Norbury
    Katharine Norbury replied:

    Hello Melanie, I'm not sure when you sent this message, and I have only just come across it (I am very poor at negotiating online spaces due to a learning difficulty and have missed a tranche of questions...). The first lockdown and subsequent loss of my regular work afforded the time to assemble and edit the anthology from an overwhelming amount of material, and publication will be in May 2021. With warmest wishes and thanks, Kate