Thursday, 20 September 2018
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 the relationship between the urban and the wild in her home town of Manchester, nestling against the haunting yet visceral poetry of Jane Lovell. I am excitedly waiting to read Emma Mitchell's account of the relationship between mental heath and what the Japanese call shinrin-yoku or 'forest bathing' from Emma's illuminating perspective as a natural scientist.
I have a great stack of novels by contemporary writers including Kitty Aldridge, Melissa Harrison and Polly Samson - I'm currently enjoying 'Cryers Hill', Kitty Aldridge’s second novel, which vividly captures a moment in time I recall only too well from my own childhood, when rural villages fell beneath the pre-cast concrete of the 1960s New Towns - strangely pertinent as the drive for new homes on an unprecedented scale once again demands a re-examining of our relationship to 'place'.
There are accounts by working women, too: Hilary Shepherd recalls taking her beloved, first organic cow to the abbatoir at the end of a long and productive life, providing a counterpoint to more traditional narratives about the natural world, yet with conservation and our relationship with the other-than-human at its heart.
The fund raising was, frankly, exhausting - so many of you really got behind it - so here is a huge and ongoing thank you for your support. It's still possible to pre-order what will be a lovely first edition, so tell everyone!
There are many more names, many more writers, who I will share in the weeks to come. And artists, too! For now, its back to the library...