Women on Nature
By Katharine Norbury
A wide-ranging and timely new perspective on writing about the natural world and our place within it
Publication date: May 2021Buy
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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.
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 Guardian, Telegraph and Ob
server newspapers. She has contributed to the Observer, the Guardian, the Telegraph, The Washington Post, Caught by the River and Lonely Planet magazine.
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
- 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!
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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