New Nature Writers: Rob Cowen, and Katharine Norbury
Tuesday May 12th, Hungerford Town Hall 7:30pm
Join two writers that are fresh talent in the new wave of nature writing. Like the prize-winning Helen MacDonald in H is for Hawk, authors Rob Cowen, and Katharine Norbury combine lyrical writing on landscape with thought-provoking memoir. Rob Cowan will be talking about his newly published book ‘Common Ground’ and Katharine will be talking about her book ‘The Fish Ladder: A Journey Upstream’, before taking questions and signing.
Rob Cowen, in Common Ground (published 7th May) blurs the boundaries of memoir, natural history and novel, and offers nothing less than an enthralling new way of writing about nature and our experiences within it. We encounter the edge-land’s inhabitants in immersive, kaleidoscopic detail as their voices and visions rise from the fields and woods: beasts, birds, insects, plants and people – the beggars, sages and lovers across the ages. Startlingly personal and poetic, this is a unique portrait of a forgotten realm and a remarkable evocation of how, over the course of a year, a man came to know himself once more by unlocking it.
But, above all, this is a book that reasserts a vital truth: nature isn’t just found in some remote mountain or protected park. It is all around us. It is in us. It is us.
Rob has been hailed as one of “One of UK’s most exciting nature writers” by The Guardian. ‘Sensitive, thoughtful and poetic, Rob Cowen rakes over a scrap of land with forensic care, until the ordinary becomes extraordinary.’ Michael Palin.
Katharine Norbury was abandoned as a baby in a Liverpool convent. Raised by loving adoptive parents, she grew into a wanderer, drawn by the landscape of the British countryside. One summer, following the miscarriage of a much-longed-for child, Katharine sets out – accompanied by her nine-year-old daughter, Evie – with the idea of following a river from the sea to its source.
The luminously observed landscape provides both a constant and a context to their expeditions. But what begins as a diversion from grief soon evolves into a journey to the source of life itself, when a chance circumstance forces Katharine to the door of the woman who gave her up all those years ago. Combining travelogue, memoir, exquisite nature writing, fragments of poetry and tales from Celtic mythology, The Fish Ladder has a rare emotional resonance.
A portrait of motherhood, of a literary marriage and a hymn to the adoptive family, this captivating story of self-discovery is, most of all, an exploration of the extraordinary majesty of the natural world. Imbued with a keen and joyful intelligence, this original and life-affirming book is set to become a classic of its genre.