The Gathering Tide
by Karen Lloyd
“Evocative, muscular.” – Kathleen Jamie.
Karen Lloyd takes us on a deeply personal journey around the 60 miles of coastline that make up ‘nature’s amphitheatre’.
Embarking on a series of walks that take in beguiling landscapes and ever-changing seascapes, Karen tells the stories of the places, people, wildlife and history of Morecambe Bay. So we meet the King’s Guide to the Sands, discover forgotten caves and islands that don’t exist, and delight in the simple beauty of an oystercatcher winging its way across the ebbing tide.
As we walk with Karen, she explores her own memories of the bay, making an unwitting pilgrimage through her own past and present, as well as that of the bay. The result is a singular and moving account of one of Britain’s most alluring coastal areas.
Prizes and awards
Lakeland Book of the Year 2016, Striding Edge Prize, WINNER
Inhabiting a landscape, walking a landscape, writing a place and time…
For Linda Cracknell, exposure to wind, rock, mist, and salt water is integral to her writing process. She follows Susan Sontag’s advice to “Love words, agonise over sentences, and pay attention to the world,” observing and writing her landscapes from the particulars of each moment.
In this varied essay collection, Linda backpacks on a small island that is connected to the mainland only at low tide. In winter snow, she hikes the wooded hillside close to her home, a place she is intimately familiar with in all seasons. And she retraces over three days the steps of a trek made by her parents seven decades earlier. She explores her inspirations, in nature and from other artists and their work, and she offers thoughtful writing prompts.
Reading this collection will take you to new places, open your eyes to the world, and suggest ways to take note and make notes as you go—to inspire your own attentive looking, journaling, and writing practice.
The Zen of Climbing
What do Zen masters, sixteenth-century Samurai, and the world’s elite climbers have in common?
– They have acquired the art of awareness.
Climbing is a sport of perception, and our level of attainment is a matter of mind as much as body.
Written by philosopher, essayist, and lifelong climber Francis Sanzaro, The Zen of Climbing explores the fundamentals of successful climbing, delving into sports psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, and Taoism. Awareness, he argues, is the foundation of climbing, allowing us to merge mental and physical attributes in one embodied whole.
Written by the author of the classic The Boulder: A Philosophy of Bouldering, this book puts the climber’s mind at the forefront of practice.
An Exquisite Sense of What is Beautiful
The personal collides with the political in this literary tour-de-force. In the 1950s, an eminent British writer pens a novel questioning the ethics of the nuclear destruction at Hiroshima and Nagasaki—but soon he’s trying to outrun his own past.
Hakone, Japan, 2003. An eminent British writer in his seventies, Sir Edward Strathairn, returns to a resort in the Japanese mountains where, in his youth, he spent a beautiful, snowed-in winter.
It was there he wrote his best-selling novel, The Waterwheel, accusing America of being in denial about the horrific aftermath of the Tokyo firebombings and the nuclear destruction at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
London, England, 1952. A young Edward falls in love with an avant-garde American artist, Macy. After their tumultuous relationship and breakup, he heads for Japan, where he meets someone else and becomes smitten again as he writes the novel that makes him famous.
This is as much a thrilling romance as it is a sensitive exploration of blame, power and guilt in post-war America, Japan and Britain. With a narrator whose behaviour strikes the national conscience as much as his own, An Exquisite Sense of What is Beautiful will stay with readers long after the final page is turned.
REVIEWS OF An Exquisite Sense of What is Beautiful
"An accomplished and compelling novel by a storyteller at the top of his game, An Exquisite Sense Of What Is Beautiful lives up to its ambitious title, delivering a story that is both delicate in its detail and politically robust." Chris Dolan, author of the award-winning Ascension Day, Redlegs and Aliyyah
"Highly accomplished and moving novel. It says much for Simons' skill that he can show us a [protagonist] Strathairn who for all his flaws and occasional selfishness can engage our sympathies when he finally realises the cost of his own denial." Sunday Herald
"If you're going to call your novel An Exquisite Sense of What is Beautiful then you have to be prepared to back it up. Luckily David Simons does this with style and substance. Simons pulls off one of the hardest tricks for a novelist, reflecting world events through the lives of individuals while avoiding the reader feeling like they are being given a history lesson or being preached to." Scots Whay Hae
"An Exquisite Sense of What is Beautiful moved me a great deal. But perhaps an even greater delight is the sheer beauty of Simons' descriptions: despite the engaging plot pulling me onwards, I often stopped to re-read and savour these. Really a wonderful, pleasurable, thoughtful novel." Sophie Cooke, author of The Glass House and Under the Mountain
The Last Lancer
An intimate story of a Polish family torn apart by war: of heartbreak, loss, and survival against the odds.
Julian Czerkawski was born in 1926 near Lwow, in Polish Galicia, on a farm with fertile grain fields and orchards. He was the son of a Polish lancer—one of the famous cavalrymen who carried forward the legacy of the hussar knights.
But there would be no idyllic childhood for young Julian. Soviet annexation and then, in 1941, the German occupation of Lwow changed everything. At the age of eighteen, he was sent to a labour camp. Fortunate to escape after the war with his life, eventually he made his way to the UK. Here, he married and started a family, but an ache remained for the people and places of his childhood memories, even if he spoke of them only rarely.
In 2022, Putin’s war in Ukraine and the sight of refugees passing through Lviv—the former Polish city of Lwow—added urgency to his writer daughter Catherine’s project of a lifetime, to try to uncover for herself everything that had been lost a generation before.
The Last Lancer pieces together glimpses of how the Czerkawski family lived and died in a region with a proud but turbulent history. It sheds light on their trauma, at the same time offering a deep and very personal understanding of a troubled place.
Singing Like Larks
Singing Like Larks opens a rare window onto the ancient song traditions of the British Isles, interweaving mesmerising lyrics, folklore and colourful nature writing to uncover the remarkable relationship between birds and traditional folk music.
Birds are beloved for their song and have featured in our own music for centuries. This charming volume takes us on a journey of discovery to explore why birds appear in so many folk songs.
Today, folk songs featuring our feathered friends are themselves something of a threatened species: their melodies are fading with the passage of time, and their lyrics are often tucked away in archives. It is more important than ever that we promote awareness of these precious songs and continue to pass them down the generations. Lifetimes of wisdom are etched into the words and music, preserving the natural rhythms of nature and our connection to times past.
An important repository and treasury of bird-related folk songs, Singing Like Larks is also an account of one young nature writer’s journey into the world of folk music, and a joyous celebration of song, the seasons, and our love of birds.
The Unreliable Death of Lady Grange
by Sue Lawrence
Edinburgh, January 1732. It’s the funeral of Rachel, wife of Lord Grange. Her death is a shock. Still young, she’d shown no signs of ill health. Rachel is, however, still alive. She has been brutally kidnapped by the man who has falsified her death: her husband. Her punishment, perhaps, for railing against his infidelity – or simply for being too feisty for a lady and never submissive enough as a wife. Whether to conceal his Jacobite leanings or to replace his wife with a long-time mistress, Lord Grange banishes Rachel to a remote island exile, to an isolated life of hardship on St Kilda, where she can never be found. This is the gripping story of a woman who has until now been remembered mostly by her husband’s unflattering account. It’s a remarkable tale of how the real Lady Grange may have coped with such a dramatic fate, with courage and grace.
The Nature Chronicles
The best of contemporary nature writing from the winners of the inaugural international Nature Chronicles Prize.
The Nature Chronicles Prize is a new biennial, international, English-language literary award founded to celebrate engaging, unique, essay-length non-fiction that “responds to the time we are in and the world as it is”. Conceived in 2020 to mark the global pandemic, the prize is also a memorial to Prudence Scott, a lifelong nature diarist who died in 2019. The prize was announced at the Kendal Mountain Festival on November 17, 2022.
Contained within this volume are the outstanding winning entries for the inaugural prize, by Jenny Chamarette, Laura Coleman, Ben Crane, Joanna Pocock and Neha Sinha, alongside the inaugural overall winner: Nicola Pitchford, for her essay ‘A Parable of Arable Land’. These winning works express diverse responses to our planet and its life, and together embody the best of contemporary nature writing, whether by emerging or established authors.
The anthology is introduced by bestselling nature writer Kathryn Aalto, who was one of the judges for this inaugural prize.
His Bloody Project: Limited Edition Hardback
From the twice Booker-listed author of Case Study, a unique opportunity to buy a new, hardback edition of the Booker-shortlisted His Bloody Project.
The year is 1869. A brutal triple murder in a remote community in the Scottish Highlands leads to the arrest of a young man by the name of Roderick Macrae.
A memoir written by the accused makes it clear that he is guilty, but it falls to the country’s finest legal and psychiatric minds to uncover what drove him to commit such merciless acts of violence. Was he mad? Only the persuasive powers of his advocate stand between Macrae and the gallows.
Graeme Macrae Burnet tells an irresistible and original story about the provisional nature of truth, even when the facts seem clear. His Bloody Project is a mesmerising literary thriller set in an unforgiving landscape where the exercise of power is arbitrary.
An anthology of landscape and nature
by Karen Lloyd
The North of England abounds with beauty, from unspoiled Northumbrian beaches and green Yorkshire Dales to the dramatic Lakeland Fells, for so long celebrated by writers and artists. Wide estuaries, winding rivers, sheer cliffs, rushing waterfalls, ancient woodland, limestone pavements, and miles of hedgerows and drystone walls sustainably built and rebuilt over centuries – all form part of its rich heritage.
But these are, too, contested and depleted landscapes. Today the curlew’s call is isolated, habitat is pressured and diminishing, and many species are in decline. Industry, urban sprawl and climate chaos threaten our environment on a previously unimagined scale. And while stereotypes persist – of dark satanic mills or “bleak” moorland – the imperative of conservation is all too often overlooked for short-term economic interests.
This essential volume reminds us how and why Northern people have risen to the challenge of defending their open spaces, demanding action on pollution and habitat loss. Contemporary writers including Sarah Hall, Lee Schofield, Benjamin Myers and Lemn Sissay take their place alongside those who wrote in previous centuries. Together, the voices in this one-of-a-kind anthology testify that North Country is a place apart.