Ground Work pieced together by Tim Dee: Writing on Place and People
A timely collection of the best British nature writing newly commissioned by one of the great authorities on the subject, Tim Dee.
We are living in the anthropocene – an epoch where everything is being determined by the activities of just one soft-skinned, warm-blooded, short-lived, pedestrian species. How best to make our way through the ruins that we have made?
This anthology of commissioned work tries to answer this as it explores new and enduring cultural landscapes, in a celebration of local distinctiveness that includes new work from some of our finest writers. We have memories of childhood homes from Adam Thorpe, Marina Warner and Sean O’Brien; we journey with John Burnside to the Arizona desert, with Hugh Brody to the Canadian Arctic; going from Tessa Hadley’s hymn to her London garden to caving in the Mendips with Sean Borodale to shell-collecting on a Suffolk beach with Julia Blackburn.
Helen Macdonald, in her remarkable piece on growing up in a 50-acre walled estate, reflects on our failed stewardship of the planet: ‘I take stock.’ she says, ‘During this sixth extinction, we who may not have time to do anything else must write now what we can, to take stock.’ This is an important, necessary book.
Ground Work Authors
Barbara Bender, Julia Blackburn, Sean Borodale, Hugh Brody, John Burnside, Mark Cocker, Peter Davidson, Nick Davies, Paul Farley, Tessa Hadley, Alexandra Harris, Philip Hoare, Richard Holmes, Tim Ingold, Richard Long, Richard Mabey, Helen Macdonald, Patrick McGuinness, Andrew McNeillie, Philip Marsden, David Matless, Andrew Motion, Adam Nicolson, Sean O’Brien, Dexter Petley, Greg Poole, Fiona Sampson, Adam Thorpe, Michael Viney, Marina Warner and Ken Worpole.
Tim Dee is a BBC radio producer making upwards of thirty programmes a year. His first book, The Running Sky, was published by Cape in 2009 and described his first five birdwatching decades. His latest book, Four Fields, described more deeply his ideas of the pastoral. He collaborated with the poet Simon Armitage on the anthology The Poetry of Birds.